So, with the start of the new term, I’ve been able to try out some of the resources I’ve mentioned with the children I teach.
I’ll start with ActiveLit, the text based adventure writing programme I discovered via Twitter. Using the game I’d created over the summer, I set the Year 6 children the task of solving my game. The first lesson was full of frustrated and grumpy children who couldn’t understand how to get past the first room, however, as soon as they realised that you had to use very basic vocabulary, you could almost see the light bulb switching on in each child and by the time the lesson was over they were buzzing with excitement. In the second lesson, I let the children finish my game and look at another, as well as make some notes on the sort of language they needed and the basic structure of the game. By this point they were really excited and so I encouraged the class to begin planning their first room. I’ve only had one further lesson and I am pleased to say that all of the children, either individually or in pairs, have begun to code their first room in their adventures and they are all really excited to share each other’s ideas. One of my least confident children enthusiastically asked me if he could carry on his game at home.
In my Code Club last week I thought it would be a good idea to try out the CamJam EduKit resources and unfortunately was not as successful – I think I expected too much as I handed the children the booklet and asked them to work through, but I was also a little disappointed that neither of the two groups I set trialling it even managed to read the instruction for how to log in to the Pi. The overwhelming sentiments was that there were too many words on the page for them, which I hadn’t noticed when I trialled the sheets myself, but I’d like to try them again, this time with a bit more input and with my more able students giving it a go.
I’ve also been taking a look at Sonic Pi, another Raspberry Pi resource created by Sam Aaron to teach children how to create music using code. I’m so horribly unmusical that I haven’t been able to write a full review, but the newest version comes with a simple tutorial and I hope to look at it properly soon. Sonic Pi is available on both Mac and Raspberry Pi and there are a few lovely worksheets popping up – I found one on CAS (sorry that I don’t have a link), which I’ve proposed to be taught in Year 4 as part of a digital music module instead of just making loops in Garageband and the non specialist teacher who is meant to be teaching it was really enthusiastic. On our current scheme of work, that won’t be until Spring term so watch this space to see how it goes.