Tag Archives: Collaboration

10 Reasons Kids Should Learn to Code

Learning about Computational Thinking, often referred to as coding (which is really the “written” part of process), is a new literacy that is overlooked for myriad reasons: “It’s too hard”, “I don’t understand it so, it will be impossible to teach”, “It doesn’t fit into any curricular area”, “There is no math in it at all”, “It’s just not appropriate for little ones”. I’ve pretty much heard the gamut of reasons why this process, not dissimilar to Design Thinking or Inquiry processes taking placing in Making/Tinkering and STEAM environments, is not viable in classrooms today. The reality is that computation thinking is a YAIEP or Yet Another Inquiry Entry Point. This should be a comforting thing for most. Inquiry and more recently Design Thinking are processes have been used extensively in the STEAM and Maker Movements that has swept educational institutions. These programs feature pedagogy that empower students to take more responsibility for their learning pathway; directing their learning through questions and personal perspectives; try to find and solve unique problems that have meaning and importance them; collaborating together to makes sense of data collected; communicating with authentic audiences and experts to share and obtain information; demonstrate their understandings in unique ways. This is Computational Thinking at it’s best as well. But there are added benefits as well and the article highlights these beautifully….  (Keith Strachan)

Word Splash of Coding Words

10 Reasons Kids Should Learn to Code

When it comes to preparing your children for the future, there are few better ways to do so than to help them learn to code! Coding helps kids develop academic skills, build qualities like perseverance and organization, and gain valuable 21st century skills that can even translate into a career. From the Tynker blog, here are the top 10 reasons kids should learn to code:

Coding Improves Academic Performance

  1. Math: Coding helps kids visualize abstract concepts, lets them apply math to real-world situations, and makes math fun and creative!
  2. Writing: Kids who code understand the value of concision and planning, which results in better writing skills. Many kids even use Tynker as a medium for storytelling!
  3. Creativity: Kids learn through experimentation and strengthen their brains when they code, allowing them to embrace their creativity.
  4. Confidence: Parents enthusiastically report that they’ve noticed their kids’ confidence building as they learn to problem-solve through coding!

Coding Builds Soft Skills

  1. Focus and Organization: As they write more complicated code, kids naturally develop better focus and organization.
  2. Resilience: With coding comes debugging – and there’s no better way to build perseverance and resilience than working through challenges!
  3. Communication: Coding teaches logical communication, strengthening both verbal and written skills. Think about it: learning code means learning a new language!

Coding Paves a Path to the Future

  1. Empowerment: Kids are empowered to make a difference when they code – we’ve seen Tynkerers use the platform to spread messages of tolerance and kindness!
  2. Life Skills: Coding is a basic literacy in the digital age, and it’s important for kids to understand – and be able to innovate with – the technology around them.
  3. Career Preparation: There’s a high demand for workers in the tech industry; mastering coding at a young age allows kids to excel in any field they choose!

Tynker makes it fun and easy for kids to learn how to code! Kids use Tynker’s visual blocks to begin learning programming basics, then graduate to written programming languages like Python, Javascript, and Swift. Our guided courses, puzzles, and more ensure that every child will find something that ignites their passion for learning. Explore our plans and get your child started coding today!

via www.tynker.com http://ift.tt/2i2cGVZ


Learning Technologies Support would like to take a moment to thank all the teachers and students who made this eBook possible. They have worked tirelessly and extremely hard to both learn the Seesaw tool and have continued to refining and perfecting already solid assessment for learning practices to fit with this new process portfolio/assessment for learning management tool.

The examples shared, highlight various aspects of student & teacher learning reflected on in Nursery through Grade 6. It is exciting to see how insightful and detailed some of the reflections and insights are.

We are beginning to see teachers and students making connections to outcomes and criteria in more purposeful, direct and meaningful ways during the reflection and posting process in Seesaw in Chapters 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. This is not to say that this isn’t being done daily at the classroom level, rather the processes in place in the classroom have not yet fully transferred into the Seesaw environment. Hopefully, the training provided over the course of this year and next (also outlined in Chapter 2) will help with this.

The examples in Chapters 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 also demonstrate current practices that one might expect to see in evidence in Winnipeg School Division classrooms today: Inquiry, Design Thinking, Computational Thinking, the 6 Cs, and so on.

There is plenty of evidence of creative connections with parents in Chapter 4: conversations about learning, education, upcoming events, past events, & friendly, community building conversations.

Mobile Learning seems alive and well. Chapter 3 highlights examples of App- & Media- Smashing where learners are demonstrating their creativity and inventiveness when designing and working on completing their tasks. It was encouraging to especially see examples where both various media (dance or clay) was used in conjunction with a digital medium (video or animation).

Overall, the Seesaw implementation is progressing well. Please use this resource as a guide to assist you and your class in creating powerful, learning focused, reflective posts guided by co-created criteria, outcomes and clear tasks for the Seesaw Learning Journals your students will be creating.

The eBook itself is designed to be viewed on an eReader of some kind (iBook, Adobe Editions, BlueFire Reader, and the like) either on a mobile device like a phone or tablet or laptop. Within a short period of time this book may be deployed to all “open” or “non-student” iPads in the Division, hopefully directly in the iBook reader. But it can also be downloaded an installed via the portal at the following link here… Evidence of Learning in Seesaw iBook, or over in the Digital Portfolio section of the our portal site. I will provide a tutorial to lead you through this at the following link… SEESAW: How to Download & install a Seesaw eBook…

Heat VS Temperature

I have been working on a HEAT VS TEMPERATURE simulation for a Grant Park coding challenge. The prototype appears below. I have limited the speed to 50 and the number of cloned objects to 50 as well. My temperature measurements at the moment are pure fiction and I would love some advice on formulas to make those more accurate.

At any rate, the idea would be to have students generate the code to create the simulation in order to explore what happens to heat and temperature when you increase or decrease the speed and/or number of particles in a substance.

Please feel free to email any feedback:  Contact Me

WSD Coding Challenge Week 4 & 5 Drawings

Here’s the form where you can submit you drawings for this weeks challenge… Please have to try to have these submitted by week’s end.


WSD Coding Challenge Week 4 & 5 – Drawing App

As we zoom towards the break, I have been reminded that parent-teacher conferences have been or are in full swing. It is sometimes hard to keep up with outside projects at this time of year. With that in mind…

This week’s challenge is going to be a little different. One of the greatest thing about building an app is that you can actually start using that app!!! That, in fact, is the incredible power of coding! Solving a real problem, coming up with a solution that allows one to create or progress forward – in our case, we have been designing an app that can paint and draw!

Over the last number of weeks, Marcel Laroche’s class have been active participants in the WSDHSchallenges! One of his students has literally dropped this week’s challenge in our laps. And it’s an awesome one! See if you can guess it from just looking at the image below (posted with permission)…

Marcel Laroche's Class image

This weeks challenge is to actually USE the app you have created to PAINT or DRAW something special….

I am hoping you are all familiar with Chris van Allsburg’s book called “The Stranger”. If not, get it from the library and have a read or check out this PDF link…

The Stranger

This is a story about the seasons changing. We happen to be in the same situation right now. Spring is trying to arrive, but is having a hard time deciding whether or not it’s truly ready. What’s going on? Could it be that something like what happened in The Stranger is happening to us here in Winnipeg?


The challenge this week is to use the drawing app to draw a series of pictures…
As a classroom, decide what your picture(s) should be about? Should the class try to show pictures of Spring? Will the class retell the story of The Stranger but from a Spring point of view? Will you stick the images together in a sequence, creating a kind of image movie and add music? Get creative. I would love to post all these images online to show the power of app creation and use….

To that end, I will be posting an image submission form on Wednesday this week for uploading your images or images sequences… I will allow the following images upload types (jpeg, jpg, png, gif, tiff, mp4, m4v, mov). Please let me know if you need another file type enabled for some reason.

You will need some help with this as we have no way of actually “saving” the images out of our drawing app at the moment. I have posted a tutorial too assist with this below. The process for “saving” is the same whether you are using Scratch or Hopscotch.

WSDCodeCHWK4Prep from Keith Strachan on Vimeo.

How to get Screenshots from an iPad
Getting Screenshots from an iPad


I would also appreciate if the teachers participating in the challenge please complete this survey to give me a sense of what’s working and where to go next…

Have a great Break!!!

WSD Coding Challenge Week 3 Solutions – Drawing App

This week I am going to show you how to search for my code examples in Hopscotch and essentially download them to your iPad so that you can explore my code easily.

WSDCodeCHWK3Solution from Keith Strachan on Vimeo.

I have uploaded the Scratch project to the MIT site and have embedded it here for your convenience to have a look at.

WSD Coding Challenge Week 3 – Drawing App

Week 3 Challenge: Paint Brush Size
Week 3 Challenge: Paint Brush Size

Line… is the most important part of any painting. (Lyle Carbajal)

This week gets a little more challenging! The challenge is to create widgets that will handle the brush size, making it both thicker and thinner as needed! We will be covering a couple of new concepts this week (If-Statements, “Listeners & Light switches”) as well as reviewing variables again.

Here’s the overview of the task:

WK3 Adding Line Widget from Keith Strachan on Vimeo.

What’s critically important to understand about the task is that Hopscotch isn’t actually completely up to the task…. We need a way to trigger things exactly when we want things triggered. For example, in this week’s code, each time the button that increases the paint brush’s thickness is tapped, two things essentially happen: 1) the paint brush’s thickness increases and 2) the display indicating the paint brush’s thickness changes to display the current paint brush thickness. This ALL needs to happen when the button is pressed and we need to trigger this.** We accomplish this feat with a variable and a listener routine.** Lets have a look at the logic that might come into play here…

Logic for Decisions in Coding Paint Brush Size
Logic for Decisions in Coding Paint Brush Size

Hopefully this makes some sense. The yellow objects in the diagram represent variables, the diamonds are decisions, or in Hopscotch if statements, and the boxes are commands. So the logic reads something like this…

  1. If a variable called IsTapped is ON then the Display needs to be updated and we need to check the next decision.
  2. Is the Brush Size at its Max? There seems to be a variable called MaxBrushSize and if it’s been reached then it’s displayed and the brush size is set to this value.
  3. OTHERWISE we move on. Are we at the Minimum brush size? Another decision. There doesn’t seem to be a variable for the minimum brush size so this is probably a hard coded value like 1! If it has been reached then it’s displayed and the brush size is set to this value.
  4. OTHERWISE the current brush size is displayed (there is a variable called BrushSize for this) and the brush size is incremented by BrushSizeIncrement which seems to be another variable.

Let’s walk through this in an example closer to our drawing app.

WSDCodeCHWK3Prep from Keith Strachan on Vimeo.

Here’s another example of how to handle if-statements in HopScotch. It’s similar to what you will need to create in your drawing app.

WSDCodeCHWK3PrepC from Keith Strachan on Vimeo.

One last bit of help to get you started. Let’s think just a bit about how to set up your interface:

WSDCodeCHWK3PrepB from Keith Strachan on Vimeo.

I realized last week that I gave enough information for the Scratch coders to accomplish this kind of coding already. In fact, they should be able to apply lessons learned last week to a line or paint brush resizing widget in their program this week.

As usual, I am available for online or in school support (in Winnipeg) if needed or desired. Let me know.

WSD Coding Challenge Week 2 Solutions – Drawing App

I am a little late getting this posted. Little internet trouble on my end, so apologies.

Here is a link the HopScotch file. You will need to download it on the iPad to view the code.

HopScotch Drawing App
HopScotch Drawing App

I have uploaded the Scratch project to the MIT site and have embedded it here for your convenience to have a look at.