The new UK computing curriculum has made us all sit back an evaluate our current computing programs. For me working with infant children, the whole concept of computing and robotics has been limited to a few common ‘control’ software programs and hardware. Traditionally, we would see remote control cars, beets and probots. The industry has come a long way in recognising how young minds can very quickly adapt to computational thinking and thus engage with the new tools with ease.
To enhance our new computing program I have slowly begun implementing some new ‘tools’ which should raise the computing expectations of our younger students.
A great Interview (some humour from 5mins on) which was bought to my attention by Rik Millington.
In order to cover the logical thinking element of the new curriculum, we have been trialling the XBox Kinect in our infant classes. Not only does this offer great skill development in teamwork, gross motor development and social connectivity. It also allows for students to evaluate why games behave as they do and how has their interaction with the game been influenced.
The guided missions allow children to get a better understanding of the importance of sequential controlled steps when getting a robot to do as you ask. The nice part is the ability to use telepresence and free play. The students are able to add emotions to their robot, adding a real human feel to their new little friend. The iPod touch 4 base only allows students to use the guided missions, where the iPod touch 5 base offers much more creativity.
Sphero offers students a completely different experience and touches more on control and augmented reality than coding. Sphero is an interactive and engaging robot that brings programming off the computer and into real life. With over ten different programming environments, and apps like MacroLab, kids as young as eight can learn how to program.
As our young students are familiar with the 2simple platform of software products, it makes sense to add the 2Code program to our tools. I like how it not only allows children to begin to use simple code on a computer, I like how the children are able to ‘see’ the algorithm that sits behind the visual command. Beginning the conversations early about what an algorithm is and why they must be sequential and logical is important. It’s worth looking at the purple mash platform to use this and other specific software.
Adding these to the tools we traditionally use and enhancing it even further with iPad apps such as daisy the dinosaur and hopscotch, and we have strength in the curriculum.