This year I am stepping way out of my comfort zone and attempting to learn something new with the help of my students: CODING. I have been a technology coach in my district, starting with Pennsylvania’s Classrooms For the Future initiative, CFF, then through an EETT grant. I would like to think that I am fairly knowledgeable with using technology in an educational setting. I have had extensive formal training through the Pennsylvania Department of Education, a second Master’s Degree in Instructional Design for Online Learning, a rockin’ global Professional Learning Network, PLN. I have presented at numerous local, regional, and state conferences about ways to effectively use technology in the classroom, not to mention many, many, many Twitterchats, and global virtual discussions on using technology.
That being said, I am not well versed in fixing devices, my Dr. Who Sonic Screwdriver aside, nor do I have much experience building apps and tools for educational use; that is what tech support and edupreneurs are for. My app building experience stops with the what used to be Google App Inventor and my old Android Droid X phone. I used the drag and drop technology to make several apps that would take me to predetermined websites using two clicks on the screen. Oh yeah, I was cutting edge until App Inventor went away, though now it is with MIT I believe. I also moved on to an iPhone, no App Inventor for that device.
I have been wanting to learn how to CREATE tools that I can use and to understand how the educational tools that I use actually work…no more man behind green curtain mystique. I am also working with other educators on organizing maker-areas, gamification in the classroom, and planning how I need to adapt to the future of education. I need to get my head wrapped around coding. This year I happen to have a great group of Freshman who have been learning the concept of coding, I saw a fantastic opportunity…I need to learn what they either know or are cureently learning. My plan is to try and learn the how to create code and discuss my progress with them; sharing what I am learning and asking questions about concepts that are difficult for me. Basically I will be modeling learning, which I have done before, but never with a concept so foreign to me. My starting point is this week with The Hour of Code.
I am am hoping my students are willing to provide a safety net for this old dog who is trying to learn new tricks.