Thursday, May 31, 2018

ADST in SD 27

Image Credit: Silvia Duckworth

This post is dedicated to my beautiful neighbor, Zoë Daigle, who tragically lost her life in a quading accident, May 29, 2018. Zoë was an enthusiastic grade 7 student at 108 Elementary School, and an early champion of Spheros in SD 27.    

 It has been an interesting year in SD 27! As part of an initiative of our schools district's technology committee and in an effort to support the newly required ADST curriculum, SD 27 invested in sets of coding/computational resources to be shared with teachers throughout the district. The kits were meant to be exploratory in nature, and included tools across a broad spectrum.

The tools from the K-3 Kit included Games: Code Master, Robot Turtles, and Littlecodr, as well as Toys, Blue Bot, and the Osmo Wonder Kit with the Coding addon. 
The 4-7 kits included Cublets, Edison Robots,Scribbler robots,  Spheros, Snap circuits, Little Bits, and a Makey Makey kit. 

We tried to include items requiring no specific technology (such as card games and board games) as well as tools that integrated with the web or apps, such as Spheros and Osmo coding. We developed 2 levels of kits: 1 for K-3 exploration and one for 4-7's. We also included learning resources and teacher guides to accompany the kits, and offered ProD sessions, and individual support if requested by teachers.Overall, the feedback we received was positive, and next year we are exploring options for expanding the kits, and the possibility of combining items such as a full set of Spheros, so that they could be used as a discreet teaching unit vs an exploration of a variety of tools.

Some of the tools on display during a district Curriculum Implementation Day. This was accompanied with a workshop session, I delivered entitled, "What the Heck is an Algorithm? (And How Do I Teach It In My Classroom?)

We had done some work previous to the kits going out, as in the spring of 2016, I had had an opportunity to work with ERAC/CUEBC on an exploratory team who were tasked with examining some coding/computational tools on the market and evaluating them for educational use and application. 

My Sketchnote from our ERAC/CUEBC workshop, examining coding tools for education. This is a link to my presentation on the BlueBot

Each person in the group chose one tool to evaluate, and since I was a complete and utter newbie to the whole concept of coding, I chose the Blue Bot-a small little robot intended for use by kids as young as 5. Heck! It a five year old could use it, it couldn't be that hard!! 

The cute little BlueBot robot first out of the box on my kitchen counter

Students at Dog Creek exploring the Blue Bot, as he traverses the pirate's Treasure Island.

After this session, with my ERAC/CUEBC workshop, I was sold! I began doing in district workshops, introducing some of the tools and concepts I had learned, and started buying what I could with my limited budget to explore more on  my own. 

Teachers in SD 27 exploring the Blue Bot. So many ideas!!

As I sit on our district technology committee, I brought the idea to our committee to consider investing in some coding tools so we could introduce the concept to staff. I was initially given funds to purchase a 12 pack of Spheros, a tool I felt had a ton of potential and flexibility for a variety of grade levels. I had had an opportunity to attend a workshop at CUEBC, with Cari WilsonElementary District Innovation Support Leader in SD45 , West Vancouver, who shared her experience with Spheros, and I knew this was a great beginning option to explore.

Student form Allison Bos's classroom demonstrating her Sphero program to head of SD 27 Tech Committee, Education Director, Jerome Beauchamp

I enlisted the enthusiastic support of Grade 6 classroom teacher, Allison Bos at nesika Elementary in Williams Lake to play with the Spheros, and she and her students LOVED them! After they had an opportunity to spend some time with them, I had them attend one of our Tech Committee meetings to demonstrate the Spheros, and what they were doing with them.

Grade 6 students introducing Spheros to tech Committee.

At the same time, my young neighbor, Zoë Daigle, a grade 6 student at 108 Mile Elementary was working on an idea for her Science Fair project and had been playing with the Sphero at my house. She decided to focus on the Bridge Challenge and so she designed and built a bridge that she then programmed the Sphero to cross, and used this as her Science Fair entry. She won the school competition, and went on to represent SD 27 at the regional Science fair in Kamloops.

Zoë at the regional district science fair, with her Sphero Bridge Challenge Project

Adding to my own knowledge background, I was one of 2 district teachers, along with fellow educator, Linda Black, chosen to attend the Ministry funded "Train The Trainer" workshops. These workshops were hosted around the province by Lighthouse Labs, and were intended to build teacher capacity in bringing training and support back to teachers for implementing the new ADST curriculum.

My sketchnote from one of the Lighthousr Lab sponsored "Train The Trainer" workshops. 

I was also very excited to see that I was accepted as one of the CUEBC SPHERO/iPAD MINI INQUIRY PROJECT recipients and was so fortunate to be able to share these Spheros across our school district this spring. As many teachers had had a small introduction through our own exploratory kits, this was a excellent opportunity to spend some more quality time with a larger group of Spheros.

Thanks so much to CUEBC for giving us this opportunity!!

As soon as Allison found out, she asked if she could have them back in her classroom, which I was able to oblige. I then took them out to Anahim Lake, and did a quick teacher ProD, then split the Spheros into 2 groups of 6, leaving one set at Anahim, and taking the other 6 to Horsefly Elementary where Learning Support Teacher, Virgina Ivey introduced them to her students. From there 6 spheros made their way to Alexis Creek for a very short visit, and the other 6 went to new principal at Forest Grove Elementary where students got to spend a bit of quality time.

Take a little journey on Google MY Maps to see how the CUE Spheros travelled around our district! Click on the individual place makers to see more info and images at each location!

Click on the link above to see the Sphero's Journey in SD 27!