Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Coding for Kindergartners

Now that my students have had some great experiences with Scratch through debugging, creating debug-its and games, I thought it was time for them to have some authentic experiences connected to what computer programmers may do in the 'real-world.'  I immediately thought of how in any design field, be it architecture or software, the designer must create with the client's needs in mind.  These are the constraints, so to speak.  In other words, a house in the Philippines will have different features than a house in Seattle, Washington even though similar tools may be used to build and design both homes.  The same thing with programming.  The finished product will be very different, depending on the what the client or use wants and needs.  I had my students design something for a kindergarten teacher in my district.  She requested that they create an animation of a popular children's book in time for Halloween (note: real-world = timeframes and real deadlines!).  They used Scratch and drew their own costumes and animated the story with the text.  This experience inspired them and motivated them on a completely different level than a class task normally would.
Animated story created for kindergarten class


After creating the animation, we then called not only their class, but also a class of first and second graders to share the creation with them via telepresence.  This kind of experience really brought in a sense of purpose so my students' creating that was full of impact.  





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