Category: coding

COP26 Sphero Lesson Activities

by Laura Di Pasquale, Wellshot Primary School, (@LauraKeeney01)

Due to the upcoming COP26 taking place in Glasgow, the Apple Regional Training Centre Glasgow is driving forward training for computing science amongst its colleagues as part of the Digital Literacy and Computing Science framework. There are and have been several sessions available which introduce colleagues to resources and technology in order to develop computing science skills with a COP26 focus.

These sessions have included an introduction to the resources available at Barefoot Computing and Code.org, how to use Spheros to develop a range of skills and using Scratch to enhance block coding skills within the theme of climate change.

As a result of Sphero training, I created a resource pack to coincide with Sphero Edu’s lesson titled “Around the World in 60 Minutes”. This resource pack contains several activities ranging from early level to more advanced coding for the upper school. It helps pupils to develop a better map of the world, learning the names of continents and countries and researching issues related to climate change. It is designed to be fun and interactive whilst developing skills in programming.

 

Get Laura’s lessons here

A CODE CLUB IN EVERY SCHOOL: CODING THE FUTURE – NORTH AYRSHIRE

Coding the Future – initiative to allow all 9-13 year olds to experience coding (@NAC_CodeClubs)

This post was written by Rosslyn Lee (@RosJLee), Digital Skills Coordinator for North Ayrshire Council. The programme has delivered Computing Science to primary and secondary learners across the authority. Most of the knowledge came from the team’s personal interests in coding and digital. Code Club Scotland and Barefoot Computing provided training that supported the programme.

 
Coding the Future has had an incredible impact on learners in North Ayrshire, and they have been unable to fulfil demand for code clubs and summer camps because of the high level of interest. Pupils learned a variety of digital skills apart from coding and was captured in photos, videos, saving programs and sharing and demonstrations to adults.
 
 

Coding the Future – North Ayrshire Council

 

In May 2017, North Ayrshire Council made a pledge to tackle the digital skills gap by providing access to Code Clubs for all learners aged 9–13 by August 2020.

The ‘Coding the Future’ project team, including staff from Customer and Digital Services and Education has the aim of expanding and supporting Code Clubs across the authority.  The first step was to look for volunteer staff to become STEM Ambassadors.  North Ayrshire Council allows their staff to volunteer within the community for 14 hours per calendar year.

Approximately 40 staff became STEM Ambassadors and were part of a ‘train the trainer’ approach.  Their objective was to support schools to set up their own clubs, taking a step back once the staff felt confident to run the clubs by themselves.  We had some training from Code Club Scotland to start us off.  This eventually led to a core group of 8-10 people delivering support to schools.

In addition to this training, some staff attended a Barefoot Computing session. 

Schools were advised that they could request help from a volunteer to start up a Code Club.  We tried to work this on a geographical basis, depending on where the volunteer lived. Some schools set up weekly clubs for a term, some for an academic year and some on a more ad hoc basis.

In addition to individual school clubs, two of the team ran a club most Saturdays at Irvine Library which was always well attended, in fact at times oversubscribed.

We ran two very successful Summer Code Camps in 2018 and 2019.  These ran for a week in July and operated from 10am until 3pm each day, with lunches provided by North Ayrshire Council.  The limit on participants was 25, although we could have organised a couple of camps such was the interest.  Unfortunately, this was not possible as staff were using holidays to run the camp.

At camp, the young people had a variety of activities to choose from including Scratch coding, Python, Raspberry Pis,  Microbits, Spheros, Virtual Reality headsets, Merge Cube AR, 3D printing, 360 degree photography and video making.

At the end of the week we held a challenge – participants had to make their own robot using a Sphero, plastic cups and various other craft items including balloons.  We invited parents to come in on the Friday afternoon to enable the young people to show them what they had experienced and created during the week.  We also had visits from the Leader of the Council, a couple of NAC Heads of Service and two of the Digital Skills Team from Education Scotland.

During these visits our young people very ably demonstrated and taught our visitors about the devices they had been using during the week, including a safety talk about the use of VR Headsets.

We also ran a successful Learn to Code Day for staff one Saturday in November 2019, supported and funded by a STEM Grant from Education Scotland.  Activities ranged from unplugged coding to Raspberry Pis and Codapillars to Python.  Participants were from primary and secondary schools as well as members of our Family Learning Team.

In December 2019 as part of Computing Science Education Week, we held an event where North Ayrshire Council employees could bring their children into work at the end of the day, to learn how to code.  This session attracted children of varying ages and we had children coding with Scratch as well as using devices such as BlueBots, Dash and Spheros.

We were delighted that the project won the North Ayrshire Achieves Award ‘Skills for Life’ in 2018 which recognised the work we had already done and our ambitions for the future.

In February 2020 we were included in EdTech50 for 2020 as one of the projects in the UK shaping technology across the UK.

Unfortunately the initiative was hit by COVID early in 2020 and has not yet resumed.   However we hope to run a Summer Camp in 2022 and depending on the virus, be able to support individual schools- in session 21-22 with clubs and staff with training.

 Coding the Future – North Ayrshire Council

In May 2017, North Ayrshire Council made a pledge to tackle the digital skills gap by providing access to Code Clubs for all learners aged 9–13 by August 2020.

The ‘Coding the Future’ project team, including staff from Customer and Digital Services and Education has the aim of expanding and supporting Code Clubs across the authority.  The first step was to look for volunteer staff to become STEM Ambassadors.  North Ayrshire Council allows their staff to volunteer within the community for 14 hours per calendar year.

Approximately 40 staff became STEM Ambassadors and were part of a ‘train the trainer’ approach.  Their objective was to support schools to set up their own clubs, taking a step back once the staff felt confident to run the clubs by themselves.  We had some training from Code Club Scotland to start us off.  This eventually led to a core group of 8-10 people delivering support to schools.

In addition to this training, some staff attended a Barefoot Computing session. 

Schools were advised that they could request help from a volunteer to start up a Code Club.  We tried to work this on a geographical basis, depending on where the volunteer lived. Some schools set up weekly clubs for a term, some for an academic year and some on a more ad hoc basis.

In addition to individual school clubs, two of the team ran a club most Saturdays at Irvine Library which was always well attended, in fact at times oversubscribed.

We ran two very successful Summer Code Camps in 2018 and 2019.  These ran for a week in July and operated from 10am until 3pm each day, with lunches provided by North Ayrshire Council.  The limit on participants was 25, although we could have organised a couple of camps such was the interest.  Unfortunately, this was not possible as staff were using holidays to run the camp.

At camp, the young people had a variety of activities to choose from including Scratch coding, Python, Raspberry Pis,  Microbits, Spheros, Virtual Reality headsets, Merge Cube AR, 3D printing, 360 degree photography and video making.

At the end of the week we held a challenge – participants had to make their own robot using a Sphero, plastic cups and various other craft items including balloons.  We invited parents to come in on the Friday afternoon to enable the young people to show them what they had experienced and created during the week.  We also had visits from the Leader of the Council, a couple of NAC Heads of Service and two of the Digital Skills Team from Education Scotland.

During these visits our young people very ably demonstrated and taught our visitors about the devices they had been using during the week, including a safety talk about the use of VR Headsets.

We also ran a successful Learn to Code Day for staff one Saturday in November 2019, supported and funded by a STEM Grant from Education Scotland.  Activities ranged from unplugged coding to Raspberry Pis and Codapillars to Python.  Participants were from primary and secondary schools as well as members of our Family Learning Team.

In December 2019 as part of Computing Science Education Week, we held an event where North Ayrshire Council employees could bring their children into work at the end of the day, to learn how to code.  This session attracted children of varying ages and we had children coding with Scratch as well as using devices such as BlueBots, Dash and Spheros.

We were delighted that the project won the North Ayrshire Achieves Award ‘Skills for Life’ in 2018 which recognised the work we had already done and our ambitions for the future.

In February 2020 we were included in EdTech50 for 2020 as one of the projects in the UK shaping technology across the UK.

Unfortunately the initiative was hit by COVID early in 2020 and has not yet resumed.   However we hope to run a Summer Camp in 2022 and depending on the virus, be able to support individual schools- in session 21-22 with clubs and staff with training.

 

 

 

 

 

 

REMOTE TEACHING OF CODING, CARMYLE PRIMARY

Laura Di Pasquale (@LauraKeeney01) was previously acting principal teacher at Carmyle Primary School and Nursery Class in Glasgow City.

She has been delivering learning to staff to increase their confidence in delivering the learning to pupils:

“I have taken part in several computing science CPD sessions over the past two years and am now leading the Glasgow City (GCC) webinars for Swift Playgrounds on iPad. In the beginning, staff did not have a lot of confidence in teaching computing science, so I developed some further training to improve this.

I had already introduced the GCC trackers for Digital Literacy and Computing Science but staff were still developing their confidence with this too. So, I developed and delivered online training with staff in my school on computing science, coding and its place in the curriculum. I then created a staff pack of three coding lessons for each year group P1-P7 for staff to use. Finally, I team-taught a lesson remotely (I was shielding at home whilst the rest of the school returned) with each class to build that teacher’s confidence.

Throughout this work I have been able to demonstrate how accessible coding can be, and how each teacher already has most of the skills required to teach a coding lesson in the classroom. Colleagues took my ready made lesson for their own class and taught this – feedback was excellent! Staff are now much more aware of how computing science can be taught offline and are now more engaged in developing computing science in the classroom; some have actively sought out further CPD (such as digilearn) to enhance their skills and knowledge.”

“The best part of all of this work has been the educational impact on the children! They were really engaged and could make the links between skills being taught in the classroom and those linked to the wider world. The learners were engaged in the tasks and really enjoyed follow-up tasks that used online activities such Scratch or Swift Playgrounds. Children were assessed using a lot of questions and watching how they engaged with the task and how well they could remember and use new technical vocabulary, such as commands and sequence.”

FIRST LEGO LEAGUE JUNIOR: PLAYMAKERS, DALMILLING PRIMARY

Elizabeth Cairns is a class teacher at Dalmilling Primary School in South Ayrshire. She has been using the First Lego League: Playmakers project to develop her learners’ understanding of coding, problem solving and design solutions. Elizabeth started by attending a webinar with the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) where she learned about the project, resources and advice on delivering the learning. The First Lego League is fully resourced with learning materials, guidance and instructions on the IET Lego Education site and the Lego WeDo 2.0 kit was purchased by the school. Using the Lego WeDo project is a great way to engage learners as the challenge has a context, relates to a real world problem and the Lego makes it hands-on with concrete materials.

Elizabeth noted that all of her class engaged with the project, especially those who don’t always engage with technologies or computing lessons. Research shows that girls, especially, engage better with technology when the learning is contextual, collaborative and based on relationships -which match the six core values of the First Lego League: inclusion, discovery, teamwork, innovation, fun and impact. Elizabeth felt that this learning was enjoyed by almost all of the learners and that they developed many skills, including coding, teamwork and problem solving.

INTRODUCING CODING AND COMPUTATIONAL THINKING WITH CODE-A-PILLAR

Dundee practitioner, Judi Regan has very kindly shared resources for some wonderful Code-a-pillar play activities for early level learners. If you were at SLF 2019, you may have been lucky enough to attend her seminar. Among the resources, there are the ‘human’ Code-a-pillar arrows for children to wear. Judi them laminated these and added string for children to wear to remind them which ‘direction’ they were during unplugged CS play and also when creating their algorithms with the Code-a-pillar . The children would decide on the directions the Code-a-pillar was to travel, and form a line, holding on to the person in front. The ‘head’ would listen for each child in turn to call out their ‘direction’ and would then move in that way to make the ‘human’ Code-a-pillar travel. This could be extended by planning in advance how to reach a particular object/area; recreating the actual Code-a-pillar algorithm and moving alongside as it moves or making a plan for moving in a shape, e.g., “let’s see if we can get our human Code-a-pillar to move in a square shape?”

We have popped all of Judi’s resources into a folder on OneDrive, you can access and download here.

DEDRIDGE PRIMARY SCHOOL CODE CHRISTMAS

Dedridge Primary School, West Lothian shared this wonderful example of how early level learners created algorithms to programme BeeBots to retell the nativity story at Christmas time. How many areas of the curriculum can you identify in this clip? 

We would love to continually add examples of how you are embedding computing science through play in ELC settings and with the young learners you are working with. Please click on this link to share your examples of unplugged computing science and how children are exploring programmable devices if you have access to them