Friday, December 20, 2013

CS Ed Week

I've been away from this blog for a while.  Actually, I have been working on another blog for my latest masters program technology integration class. Although that blog is for class assignments and discussions, there are a lot of good ideas and discussions from the class.  If you'd like to check it out, it's here. The blog roll on that one is a list of my classmate's blogs. 

But big happenings last week, in addition to finishing up my latest grad course, it was CS Ed Week  which coincided with the week of the birthday of former navy rear admiral and one of the first female programmers, Grace Hopper.  "Amazing Grace" was credited with coining the phrase "debugging a program" after having to literally remove a moth from a computer she was programming.  She worked on the original Cobol programming language release and is also credited with the quote, "It's easier to beg for forgiveness, than to ask for permission."  Computer science educators realize that girls shy away from technology fields, especially programming, and Grace could be an inspiration to them.  Here she is at 80 years old on Letterman:

Video of Grace Hopper on Letterman

Scratch Interactive Card 
Anyway, CS Ed Week, part of, sponsored the Hour of Code project.  It was their goal to get 1 billion kids to participate in an hour of coding tutorials.  The school I work in is strictly for special needs kids, some severely delayed, so a lot of them wouldn't be able to participate in the computer tutorials, although some did with assistance and alternative technology.  I do teach a programming class to a few of the students, currently using Scratch, but will be exploring some others later. But I wanted all of the students to at least have an understanding of how coding works and what makes their electronics work.  

Binary Mosaics
So I put together a "Programming Faire" which was held on December 13th (as part of our Fun {but educational} Friday program) which lasted for the 2 hours after lunch, with many activities for the kids to participate in. In addition to the Hour of Code tutorials, we did a lot of "unplugged" activities (some which were from, as the pictures show.  I also have a Makey Makey which was used to demonstrate how we program the banana piano and the Playdough controller using Scratch.  

Nxt Robot
We also used our iPads to play games that walk them through the programming process, like LightBotDaisy the Dinosaur and Fix the Factory and we created interactive Scratch holiday cards using the IWB.  In addition, I had a Lego Mindstorms NxT robot programming demonstration and we had a visit from the Nao Robots, which was probably the most attended activity, thanks to our communications disorders department, after they saw the video I shared with them, because of its asknao program for autistic kids.  

MakeyMakey Playdough
All in all it was very well attended and it was great that our kids could participate in a program that was worldwide.  I put it all together, but also had help from a few teachers, our library media specialist and a former technology integrator who volunteered her time to come help run the activities.  I am very grateful for their help.  It was a lot of work, but it was fun, and I hope we can do it again next year!

Secret Codes

1 comment:

  1. I SO enjoyed the day! Thank you for pulling it together, Cindy!