Based upon student interest, Principal Tom Walsh approved two middle school students to pursue personalized learning for coding with Rhonda Siemons, Technology Integrationist at BFA. Students agreed to spend their team time to meet weekly to learn about coding. During their initial group meetings, both members elected to set a goal of sharing what they learned and worked to develop and lead a coding club along with Mrs. Siemons.
Both of the students learned how to code on the iPad using programs like Scratch Jr., Hopscotch and Tickle. Later they applied the critical thinking skills they developed to learn how to program actual robots including Dash and Dot as well as Sphero. Based on interest, the students extended their learning beyond the school day by taking the programmable technology home to learn to code in their own personal time.
The next step was to take their new self-taught skills and share them with their seventh grade team. Both of the students kicked off Hour of Code by presenting to other seventh graders on how to code. After facilitating discussions with their peers on the benefits of code, all of the 7th grade team were able to participated.
Based on interests, the students and Mrs. Siemons have agreed to now extend the program to hold a Coding Club at BFA for any interested middle school students. The club will be held after school once a week for students to learn and explore coding. The program will expand the current technology of Dash & Dot and the Spero to also include Ollie, BB-8 and mini drones. During this time, the coding group leaders will work with other students to use design thinking and logic to translate into working applications of code. Students will learn together how to develop problem-solving and debugging skills to meet weekly challenges.
Target 2 – Leadership. FWSU students and staff lead innovative, personalized learning opportunities, both locally and globally.
Action Step – Ensure students take a leadership role in their learning using rich, authentic questions, problems they identify, and diverse resources to formulate solutions. Shift teacher roles from director of teaching to facilitator of learning.
Indicator of Success – Students and staff act as coaches, facilitators, collaborators, and co-learners in a personalized learning environment.
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