Tricia Louis, PK-12 Technology Integration at Richland School District, Richland District School Board.
Benefits of Coding in Schools
There has been a push in recent years to get more students involved in coding lessons in school. Our world is being driven by computer systems of varying levels and these systems need coders to not only keep up with the technology at the time, but to dream of the technology of tomorrow. Students that are enrolled in our kindergarten classrooms at the moment are part of the Class of 2032...the jobs that are here today, might not be there in the world of 2032. And jobs that are not even thought of today could be the norm. How do we prepare our students for this future?
Coding with "Littles"
As the old adage goes, we like to start them young. Acquiring knowledge at a young age and having time to practice the skills needed to impart that knowledge is key.
When we bring coding into the classroom with our littlest learners, we are not saying that all students need to become coders when they graduate, but they can carry the skills of coding into pretty much any career.
Creating amazing STEAM Projects
We have several different “screenless” technologies that we like to employ with our little learners (3, 4, and 5 year old kindergarten students). Coding robots such as beebots, coding robot mouse, mTiny, and many more are a great way for students to use those computational skills without having to be staring at a tablet or other computer screen.
Beebots are really fun for young learners as it can engage students that are even at the pre-reading level. Recently, Terrapin (the company that makes beebots) introduced ‘pen jackets’ that can be added to the beebot so that when you tap in the code, it will draw out the path of the beebot. Expo fine tip markers fit in the pen jackets and then we used sheets from the Wipebook flipchart for the students to work with.
This was great for me as I am in a central location and bring all these robots and other STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) integrations to the classroom. I was able to roll the sheets and secure with a rubber band for easy transport from school to school. We used simple microfiber mitts from the dollar store to clean our Wipebook flipchart pages.
Versatility of WipeBook Flipcharts
So as you have read, you can use Wipebook flipcharts in a new unique way! The portability and cost-effectiveness of the product make it a great addition to this STEAM lesson and I can see it wrapping more and more into other lessons I create in the future.
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