Category Archives: workshop

classroom teaching workshop

Observations after finishing first set of clubs (Winter 2015)

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The first clubs I started (Jan-Mar 2015) are over, and I wanted to jot down some notes regarding my experience. In general, both clubs (LEGO Robotics and 3D Game Programming) sufficiently entertained and engaged the kids, and I believe most kids were able to demonstrate basic skills that we developed in the clubs. Regarding both clubs as well, it was clear that 1 hour per week, once a week, is just not enough time to do much of anything useful. That is a big problem especially for the Robotics club, since only one kid in the class had a kit at home, so no one could really practice or go beyond the club material outside the club time. In the programming club, one or two kids went ahead to read the book and download code, but I didn’t get a sense they had really a greater understanding. Continue reading

5-7 year olds scratch workshop

Hour of Code workshop for 5-7 year olds at Santore Library

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For the past several months, I’ve been working with my friend Stephen Garland on exploring initiatives around teaching children using software development principles and tools. Currently, we’re getting a lay-of-the-land by cultivating content as we develop opportunities and directions in which to move forward. Once we have a structure for organizing these materials, we’ll be sharing them here as well as possibly through other venues.

We are like-minded in characterizing our effort as aiming to teach/convey computer literacy and computational thinking, as opposed to a more mechanical pursuit of programming/coding. At its core, I believe it is about problem solving through effective and efficient model building. From a practical perspective, I want to share some of my initial efforts coming up, such as developing and leading two middle-school courses/clubs: one, an introduction to Lego Robotics, and two, an introduction to 3D game programming in JavaScript. We’ve also sketched out a few workshops we plan to lead in the coming months.

Today, in honor of Computer Science Week, and Hour of Code, Steve led a workshop at the Santore Library in Philadelphia for a group of about 16-18 kids, aimed at ages 5-8, and I helped where I could. Here is a link to an article that Tony Abraham of Technical.ly Philly wrote about it. Continue reading