Digital literacy is in this first period of the school year obligated for every first year student. We work on the basic skills students need to have to participate in class. In some of the next periods students can choose to follow digital literacy. To know what they can choose, I create a 'test' lesson.
During this year EU codeweek I decided to use Swift Playground and the hour of code module with Hello Byte! as a starter. In 45 minutes the students can work on their own pace through the levels and learn about commands, functions and loops. Problem solving is one of the key concepts during this lesson. Some of my students were highly irritated at the end of the 45 minutes. Byte didn't do what they want them to do!
Some of the more silent kids become the 'helper' for others. Lovely to see the engagement between students who barely talk to each other in other classes. They found each other in problem solving and collaboration.
And of course there are disappointed kids, normally they are best in class when it comes to knowledge but this time knowledge isn't helpful for them. All these observations are very valuable for me as a teacher. It gives me information which I can share with my colleagues.
As I say, all highly valuable but...this one is gold!
On Monday 7th T. is in my class. He is a refugee from Syria. He and his family left that country when he was 6 years old. They when to Egypt for a couple of years. He is 2 years in The Netherlands and he is still learning the language.
At the age of 8 he learned himself to code with Scratch and C#. He build games with his own music in it. He showed them to me while he tells a lot about the game building and the music creating. I haven't heard him this much the whole year!
I told him: you can help me build a game! Even better: you can help your classmates build their own game. Let's make a plan for that. At that point the bell for the end of the class rang. If it hadn't rang, the whole lesson plan was already done!
I'm not in school on Tuesday, on Wednesday I have playground duty. He came to me and asked me what I want: a shooting game or some puzzles? I asked for puzzles. On Thursday I'm not at school, I met him last Friday, the last day before autumn break. He came to me, running: I made a game already! And also a simple how-to for my classmates!
I really love this enthusiastic engagement! I think he is building games right now, don't you think!