This is a reflective post about what video games have taught me in an educational light, believe it or not.
The title of this post gives away the content.
I am definitely not a hardcore gamer, but when it comes to games like "Crash Twinsanity", "Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy" or even "Jak 2", I enjoy them.
Now I have beaten these games multiple times, and I enjoy the storyline behind them. The sad part is that they are made for PlayStation 2 and are almost out of date.
What have games have taught me?
All of them have different areas, different boses, etc. and it gets harder as the game progresses.
I have tried levels or missions up to 50 times until I beat them and think of a strategy each time to complete it. I would die by getting hit too many times or by falling through something, so I would try something different the next time.
Each Wednesday, I run a Coding Club meeting during lunch. This club is run through the library and any student can join the club.
Lunch at our school is from 10:43 to 11:18.
This block of time is only 35 minutes in length.
By the time students get to the library and settle down, we've already lost at least 15 minutes, which puts us at about a 20 minute meeting. This is not enough time for me to instruct students or even introduce a new robot.
Now THAT is something I like to see.
I'm currently trying my best to get students involved in Computer Science, but some are not interested.
I organized two Hour of Code sessions for tomorrow (Wednesday, December 7th). Even an hour can quickly turn into 40 minutes.
Coding should be put into the Ontario cirriculum.
I'm fighting for this because I cannot get anymore time than I'm currently asking for. I have to attend my classes to get where I want to be. I cannot stay after school because I have other commitments in my life, like everybody else.
If Coding was implemented into the cirriculum, my Coding Club would continue, but more students would be doing it and see the value.
Before you dive into coding and computer science, you will need to tweak a few classroom criterias.
Coding is no longer enough.
As stated in one of my other posts, there are plenty more parents wanting their children to explore computer science than there are schools that offer this program.
In 2020, there is going to be 50 billion objects connected to the internet than people on this planet.
New technologies such as self-driving cars will eliminate jobs but will create thousands of new ones.
Brian Aspinall mentioned in one of his latest TED Talks:
"People no longer believe they need post-secondary education to be successful in life. We are in the era of startups, makerspace and 3D printing.
Now, I'm not saying that coding can happen every day, during every subject.
But what I am going to say is that it needs to be exposed.
Recently, I have been taking part in #fslchat.
This chat is run by Jen Aston and Dawn Telfer. There is a new topic each week that is brought for the community of educators to discuss.
The chat is from 9 - 10 PM EST on Sunday nights, with 5 or 6 questions.
This chat is one of the best chats I've seen. French is a language that Canadians should be speaking, as our country is bilingual. French is a class in elementary, but is an option for 3 years in High School.
Most students in Canada speak English, and only some take french in their education.
This chat allows for the community of educators to discuss ways to change their teachings in french. Past topics include:
As a student, this gives me a way to show my teachers how they can keep me engaged in french class.
It's always interesting to see what other teachers bring to the table that night. I like hearing about how they teach their students everyday.
Teachers all have their own ways of teaching their students. I see it every day at school.
"We did not come to fear the future. We came to shape it.
This quote inspires me daily. The future of education should not be feared, however it should be shaped.
As more technologies evolve, new teaching options and strategies become available for teachers to use in their daily lessons.
For example, here is a recent post from Doug Peterson.
In this article, Doug explains that he coded a sphero to be a "car" and "light". At the beginning of the program, sphero is defaulted to start at a red light. The sphero will turn red when it is stopped and the red light will last 3 seconds. After the light has lasted 3 seconds, the program will automatically pick at random between the numbers 1, 2, and 3. If it chooses 1, the sphero turns right. If it chooses 2, the sphero turns left. If it chooses 3, the sphero goes straight. Sphero will turn green when it begins to move, and when it needs to stop it will turn amber and slow down, preparing to stop.
This program could fit into a lesson easily.
I WANT TO COde with my students, but don't know where to start.
The easiest way to get started is to try it yourself. Head over to scratch.mit.edu, create an account, watch the tutorials and start to "play" with it.
Once you show your students the basics of coding, they'll be the experts in the room.
Computer Science and Coding is one of the best ways for students to create content and collaborate in class.
As mentioned in my last post, I was one of the lucky students to get Mrs. Aspinall in Grade 7.
She mentioned coding in a math class but I never thought I'd go for it. A week later, she said we could create a program instead of writing our test. I began to code and I found where I've always wanted to be.
I started to code multiple projects across my 8 subjects.
My classmates didn't go for it. I was one of the only ones that went for this "coding".
In December of that school year, I taught a school in Sarnia how to code a Christmas Card using Twitter. I tweeted with #AGTeachesCoding so the class could follow along. This was an amazing experience for our class at RDHS and Mr. Owen's in Sarnia.
I continued to code throughout the school year and I decided to join the #csk8 chat with Mr. Aspinall one night. It seemed that I was the only student to ever join this twitter chat.
After being truly inspired, I began my own chat, #csforstudents.
After stumbling upon the classroom I always wanted in the year of Grade 7, my world has completely changed, as well as my vision of education.
In my year of Grade 7, I was one of the lucky students to get the "amazing" teacher, Mrs. Aspinall. I didn't know her too well at first, but that changed very quickly.
Technology really stumbled upon me one day in Math class when she mentioned you could program your work instead of doing it by hand. I thought nothing of it. One day we had to do our test and I asked her "Can I just do this on Google Drive?" and she told me
"I don't see why not.", so I went for it. I quickly began to use technology more and more in my education, across all of my classes. I would mainly use my iPad at that time because the school I was attending only had netbooks.
The next week in math class, she mentioned coding again. I figured that I was going to go for it this time, and I'm happy I did.
This site has launched as of Sunday, August 21st 2016. I hope all of the site visitors enjoy the website, and find it to be a resourceful tool.
I will be speaking at the "LKDSB Summer Institute" on Wednesday, August 24th and Thursday, August 25th. Hope to see you there!