Let’s code together at home

Author: Selçuk Yusuf Arslan

Online Coding Training? Why not?

The pandemic process has been a process when education systems are rapidly taking action all over the world. Countries quickly began distance education activities. We were encouraged to organise activities for the 2020 STEM Discovery Campaign online, using SOMR (Scientix Online Meeting Room). In this process, I decided to do an online event with the Ministry of Education of Muğla Province. I was asked if I could do STEM applications by teaching coding online. Even it sounds good, it was interesting to do a “hands-on” activity online. Why not? We could do it.

Can simulators be used for this?

I started planning it right away. I could use simulators in distance education to make robotic coding with teachers. I chose micro:bit. There was a few advantages of BBC’s intiative and popular microcomputer micro:bits;

  • I could use the simulator thanks to Microsoft Makecode. Teachers participating in distance education could also get a chance to try, even if they didn’t have micro:bit.
  • Micro:bit is a good choice, especially for teachers who do not have previous coding experience because they are block-based.
  • By posting a video on YouTube, many teachers could watch me and get a chance to try, even ask questions online. I could also reach a lot of teachers offline; not only online but also offline after the broadcast.
  • At the end of the training, I could encourage teachers by making a simple STEM application.
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STEM & SDG activities

Author: Erviola Konomi

Healthy food for sustainable Development of planet

Subjects:
Geography, Social Studies, Citizenship
Mathematics, Biology, Economy

Resources:

The event covers a variety of topics, such as health, food, climate, environment and agriculture. For a healthy diet from sustainable food systems.

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Teach coding with Scientix

In the last decade, there have been intense efforts to integrate STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) at all levels of formal education.  The goal of this effort is to make teachers adopt modern pedagogical methods in the teaching process of Science and the cross-thematic approach which helps students to develop their skills. In particular, through New Technologies, one of the objectives is to introduce computational thinking into education as a “basic skill” to be acquired by all and not just by those involved in Computer Science. Besides “Reading, writing, numeracy, our goal must be to add computational thinking to each child’s analytical capability … as it is directly linked to the problem solving ability and the understanding of human behavior “(Wing, 2006: 33).

Based on this data, Vasileia and Ralia (Scientix ambassadors) decided to implement a 2-hour workshop for primary school teachers. This 2h interactive workshop took place during “Athens Science Festival 2019”, on Friday 5th April 2019. Primary school teachers, beginners but willing to introduce coding to their students, using resources from the Scientix Portal and other platforms, were invited. As the event was held during a Science Festival many adults and children dropped over to take a look. They were also informed about STEM discovery Week, the Scientix portal and the teaching resources it provides and about plugged and unplugged coding activities.

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STEaM micro:bit

This workshop was held on April 25th at Primary school “Sreten Mladenovic Mika”, Nis, Serbia as a part of join activities within NiSTEaM initiative of Scientix Ambassadors from the city of Nis for taking part in SDW 2019. It is an introduction to coding and computer science by way of making and design, using the revolutionary new micro:bit micro controller board, and Microsoft’s easy and powerful MakeCode block-based coding environment. It is a project-based curriculum with a maker philosophy at its core; the idea is that by making physical objects, students create a context for learning the coding and computer science concepts.

We found that existing curriculum for beginners focused mostly on solving math problems or constructing geometric shapes and that there was a certain type of student that signed up for computer science classes and these students were almost always boys. We wondered whether a different approach to teaching the basics of computer programming would be more engaging and also attract a larger variety of different types of students, both boys and girls.

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Makey Makey game for a special needs student made by his classmates

Makey Makey® programmable boards are used at Istituto Comprensivo 9 in Bologna both in primary and in lower secondary school.

Students get a basic learning on how to program with Scratch in ordinary classroom activities, and in optional labs they can go further and develop animations with their own contents and ideas. These labs are carried out with a Project Based Learning approach, by developing real products that must be designed by the students themselves, developed and tested to be used by others, or presented in public events, as, for example, the annual School Maker Day.

The best students’ creations are published in the Scratch site in the school gallery classiIC9BOGuercino.

A second grade class of the lower secondary school includes a special needs student who has developed a good affective relationship with his schoolmates, thanks to their supporting teacher who has always encouraged communication and caring. So the class decided to prepare a special gift for their friend: a game made with Makey Makey and Scratch.

Since there are 23 students, they are divided into 5 groups with the task of designing 5 different animations connected to 5 different keys of the Makey Makey board: arrows up, down, left, right and space.
makeyboard

Every group of students designed their own idea, chose the external circuit connected with their key, and programmed the related animation. In the animations they added their own images, photos, sounds, voices in order to adapt it to their friend’s experience and emotional reactions.

After testing one by one, the 5 different animations were assembled into a complete Scratch project including all background images, sounds, sprites and blocks and published in the Scratch site: Animazione Completa MakeyMakey 2A.

Thanks to professor Ms. Manuela Fabbri of Bologna University, who often collaborates with IC9 for undergraduate’s training, on April 17, 2018 the young authors were given the opportunity to present their project in a seminar for students attending the course of Technologies of Education.

Link of the seminar slides