I've just finished my first few days with students in our new Exploration Station and it was fantastic! There are of course plenty of things I could have done differently and a few tweaks I'll be making for the the next group of students next week but in general I'm happy with how the first few days went.
You can click here see the run down of the first day and here to see photos from the second day.
What went well?
I tried not to pre-plan too much. I knew I wanted to look at a little bit of SHINE Online our digital citizenship resource and to try and tie in some computational thinking concepts. The students were already quite knowledgeable about staying safe and strong online so we got to a point quite quickly where they were ready to plan an artefact to help others learn about it.
We also touched on computational thinking and computer science concepts through the story If I were a wizard. While within this group of students there were quite a few that had been coding using scratch, python and even java script many hadn't encountered the vocabulary. There was also quite a big gap between those that have coded grasping the concepts and those that hadn't coded before - I expected this and will be looking into how to work with this in the classroom a little more.
The students really dived into the making of an artefact and were very excited about the possibility of earning a digital badge. The final products ranged from scratch games to cardboard safes, models of smart houses and posters. It was great to see students following their own passions and interesting to note who was able to persevere with not having all the instructions in front of them and who struggled with this.
Where to next?
- Make computational thinking concepts more explicit - perhaps look at building resources and getting students to look through these before coming to see me.
- Reduce visit to being focused on SHINE Online or Computational thinking not both
- Look into creating a few more 'how to' resources around connecting physical items we already have a couple of resources about cardboard but I'd like to build on this with hot glue, sellotape and stapler resources.
- Build the Exploration Station website to include links to tutorials on scratch, Adobe Spark, WeVideo, basic camera operation and setup
- Start labelling storage - after seeing how students use maker equipment I've got a better idea of what we need to separate and label this will be a work in progress
- Look at a better work in progress table - perhaps look at using reusable bags with some kind of labelling
The students worked really hard on their creations and most got to a point where they could share their creation. It would be great to look at how they could share the process a bit more with their planning slide decks - perhaps a photo opportunity or two during the session to add to their planning docs might help.
I'm looking forward to hosting the next group of classes in the space - year 5 this time. Watch this space for how it goes.