This week over ten million students across the globe participated in Hour of Code. Sponsored by code.org Hour of Code is a movement founded by Hadi and Ali Partovi with the purpose of spreading the importance of computer programming. This week over 300 students, a dozen teachers, our principal and one Rabbi spent an hour learning to code.
I recently met the poet Taylor Mali (www.taylormali.com) when we were both assigned to the same collaborative group of professionals exploring possible solutions to helping teachers access resources for teaching Common Core Standards. There were several times during the process when Mr. Mali would concisely say what the group was thinking or ask a question that everyone wanted to ask, but didn't. When I mentioned this to him at the end of the session and commented how useful it was, he responded that he was simply being a poet - that the function of a poet was to put into words what people wanted to say, but were unable to.
Taylor Mali's most well-known poem is his response to a lawyer's comment that those who can't, teach. In this poem he gave millions of teachers the words to explain why they became teachers, despite the inherent difficulties. I think it's really important to remember the importance of poems. We've kind of moved away from memorizing and reciting poems to each other, but I think I might be ready to try that again.
I have to admit, when I tell people that the third graders (or first graders or second graders) are building with LEGOS, it's sometimes hard for them to imagine all the critical thinking and problem solving skills needed to complete a robotic LEGO project. LEGOs are just plain fun to play with - we all know that - so what makes this kit different? The first thing to know is that these kits consist of very specifc LEGO pieces - gears, motors, sensors. Children are guided through a series of steps to assemble these pieces into simple machines. Next they connect their simple machines to computers via a USB cable. This allows students to use the WEDO programming software to write code that will make the motors or sensors respond. So, yes it's fun to play with LEGOS, but it's also a great way for young learners to gain an understanding of engineering concepts and computer programming
Here at Wise School all students must agree
to our Wise and Responsible Computer Use Agreement in order
to use our school computers. Students in 4-6 grade must agree to
our Wise and Responsible Personal Electronic Device Agreement. Both
are signed by parents. The reason we do this is to make our guidelines
clear and to help children become responsible users of technology.
As a professional in the area of education technology, I am well aware of the challenges that technology brings to a family. This is why I strongly encourage the use of a Family Computer Use Agreement. As a family it is important to discuss issues related to computer use at home, set clear guidelines and work towards making technology a useful tool in our lives.
Together, we can help to make our community work smarter with technology. If you would like help in shaping your Family Computer Use Agreement, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org