Sunday, July 26, 2009

Student Training – Week 2 – Day 1

Training continued in week two starting with a day of Scratch training. Again, I was running the training and I tried to mimic how I taught the teachers. The training did not work too well because the kids were exploring the program rather than listening to some crucial bits of information such as how natural language commands will control the object. Furthermore, many of the kids found the button which adds a random new sprite (animation object) and after they had added 30 or so different sprites the program would become exceptionally slow due to hardware limitations and they would need to create a new project.

Working with the students can be fun and rewarding.

After struggling with the kids to keep them roughly guided down a path I changed gears and tried to have them work in groups to create an animation with two sprites which both move and say something to each other. The students quickly arranged their desks into groups but did not understand the concept of group work. The students appeared to start individual projects but it became apparent that they didn’t understand, or at least want to understand, individual work.

The group I was working with couldn’t stay close to on task. I tried to let them explore the program but at a certain point, they needed to begin participating in the creation of new animations rather than being entertained by example animations and adding new, random sprites.

As my frustration grew it became increasingly difficult to be effective in helping; I was thankful when music started blasting outside our classroom 30 minutes before we dismissed. We could barely hear anything over Nelson Mandela’s birthday celebration and packed up to prepare for the following day.

One of our students with a South African flag for Mandela's Birthday.

While the day was not a failure, there were several things which should have been executed differently teaching for children. When we got home we had a meeting to discuss how we should teach the same material to class two on the following day. Check back to see how we reacted.

-XO Mike

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