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.
The objectives for the participants of the workshop were as follows:
1. To inform them about the Scientix portal and its resources in order to use them with their students.
2. a. To be acquainted with the basic principles of computational thinking through the realization of unplugged activities and
b. to work with the courses of the code.org platform.
The workshop was divided into three parts during which these objectives were pursued.
Implementing the 1st Goal:
The first part (about 20 minutes) was an introduction to the Scientix Portal and its resources on STEM education. The last 10 minutes of the presentation were dedicated to the coding resources that exist in the Scientix Portal and especially to the TACCLE 3 Coding Portal.
(You can see our presentation here: https://prezi.com/xmgefr7og99i/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy)
- Unplugged activities
The rest of the workshop aimed to involve the participants in coding activities. Initially, unplugged coding activities were implemented, and in particular the Space Race: “The Space Race activity is to navigate your rocket ship safely through the galaxy of aliens and satellites all the way to the moon. Using pre-made coding blocks, participants were invited to create a ‘program’ of directions for their rocket to follow and complete their mission.
- Code.org platform
Then the participants were involved in the code.org programming platform. In particular, Vasileia and Ralia, the trainers, had created a class named “ASF_2019” in the platform and gave the participants their own passwords in order to connect to the lesson. Then the participants worked with the “walk”, “repeat”, “if then” commands and with debug errors. The trainees worked in small groups to transfer their experience to their classroom with their pupils.
In total, 15 adult educators and 2 K12 students participated. Also 12 adults were informed during the action.
Photographs were taken during the workshop. We asked signed permission from the participants to make these photos public and they agreed. You can see a video made of these photos here: https://animoto.com/play/nb6bYhQVIPgRzIrtJrD1mw
Dissemination of action
The workshop was promoted and disseminated through social media and other ways
- It was uploaded to the STEM Discovery Week Activities & Actions Map 2019 on the Scientix portal (google maps for the exact location of the event)
- It was uploaded to Athens Science Festival Site and Program
- Social media dissemination:
- On Facebook: Creation of the Event “Teaching Coding with Scientix” (in Greek) for which 70 people were interested to participate. There was a google form in which participants wrote their contact details in order to be informed for future activities related to Scientix and STEM education. https://www.facebook.com/events/644333962683472/
- On Twitter: The event was posted on Twitter as well. https://twitter.com/ViDilaveri/status/1122194601312444416
After the workshop
An email was sent to all participants including details and links for their registration on the Scientix Portal and to all activities that were hosted at the workshop.
(You can see a version of this article with embedded presentation, video and active links at Vasileia’s site here: https://vdilaveri.gr/teach-coding-with-scientix/ and at Rallou’s blog here: https://blogs.sch.gr/rallou/2019/05/10/teach-coding-with-scientix/4/?fbclid=IwAR0NSdf3gF3smJv6_FSXw8Je1lxwZYK5VAx5r9vN8MbsHbeJsMlEqGOMtxk)
Code.org platform: https://studio.code.org/courses
Scientix Portal: http://www.scientix.eu/resources
TACCLE 3 Coding – Portal: http://www.taccle3.eu/english/
Wing, J.M. (2006). Computational Thinking. Retrieved 30/6/2018 https://www.cs.cmu.edu/~15110-s13/Wing06-ct.pdf