When Deborah Carter from NewTechKids volunteered to teach a coding workshop in my class last week, I was immediately enthusiastic. In celebration of the annual Counting Day (day when all classes are focused on counting), I had taught a few exercises on programming and coding. My group found it very fun to do. They were challenged in different ways, promoting intrinsic motivation and that’s nice to see.
During the workshop, the children designed robot heads and then wrote a program by hand, made up of commands to navigate through an obstacle course. They were challenged to become robots which safely dispose of toxic waste since humans can’t do this job. It was nice to see that the children learned the basics of coding in different ways. They compared each other’s code and learned from each other how to improve their codes. In the process, they learned about coding concepts such as algorithms, commands, programming languages and automation.
A few days later, I taught the same lesson with a twist. I designed a route in the gym and then had my students team up in pairs and write a code to help each other navigate the route blindfolded. They created the code together but then one went through the route blindfolded while the other navigated. The goals were to test the accuracy of the code and to develop trust between the two students. It was fun to use coding as a means to promote a safe educational environment based on trust.
– Martin Kremer, Teacher, Theo Thijssenschool Amsterdam