Monday, June 15, 2015

Coding for Beginners

I'm enjoying a few days of learning at TCEA's Tots and Technology. Here are my take aways, from a coding beginner and the resources I collected from TCEA Tots and Technology.

Getting Started
I've decided to get started with coding at home with my children.  We've enjoyed the board game, Robot Turtles and several iPad Apps.  Robot Turtles is a great way to get started with coding in an analog way.  My children enjoy making sound effects as we play.  Their favorite beginning coding app is My Robot Friend by Leapster. I like it because there is room for four profiles.  This means, I get to learn without affecting their progress.

Hour of Code
I attended a 6 hour session called "Building a STEM Foundation for Elementary Students."
It was a great session for teachers that are coding beginners, like me.  We spent a lot of time learning about the Hour of Code and using in the classroom.

I had heard about, but I was not aware of all of the lessons that were available through the training. In the workshop, I received great "unplugged" lessons that I can use when teaching students and teachers.  These lessons introduced coding vocabulary and really made the concept of coding easy to understand.  I was most impressed that a lot of those lessons were analog and just plain fun.

I spent time hands-on, learning how to code by playing a lot of the coding puzzles that students could solve while learning to code.   

If you are getting started with coding as a teacher, you should create an account in and get started.  It's also okay if you do not know much about coding.  We can learn and it's okay it we learn along with or from our students.  ;)

Taking it Beyond
I attended another session at #tceatots called "Robotics on the Cheap," with Jered Martinez.  This session focused on inexpensive ways to code and was at a higher level. Here is the sketch note Jered created to start us off.  My additions are not as fancy.  :)

Jered Martinez created this to start us off, I added my notes at the bottom center.

I learned about brush bots, little robots made out of inexpensive parts that can be purchased at Radio Shack.  I can't wait to gather the materials and create a fun, home, problem solving project to learn with my kids at home.  I also quickly created my account in Tynker and Scratch  to begin coding.  The neatest thing I learned is that Scratch is open source and the code that is written there can be used to program Raspberry Pi.  For example, check out 25 fun things you can do with Raspberry Pie from CNET.  A participant in the session shared Code Combat as a more advanced coding program.

I think I'm ready to continue learning.  After I build up my basics in, playing Robot Turtles with my kids, and enjoying a few coding apps when I have time, I'll move up the coding ladder.  It's exciting to think about the possibilities and what I can create if I learn to code.  Imagine how much it will help our PreK-12th graders if we give them all the same opportunity. After all, they need to be prepared for today's world and coding is apart of it now.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

So You Want to Be an Instructional Technology Specialist

The past two weeks, I've had the opportunity to talk with Dr. Will on Saturday Morning.  I've enjoyed connecting to share my experiences and to learn more about his experiences as an Instructional Technologist.

Dr. Will asked me to be on his Show for an episode called "So You Want to Be an Instructional Technology Specialist."

You can find the original post by visiting So You Want to Become an Instructional Technology Specialist.