Integrating new tools and workflows whilst introducing a new unit of inquiry would traditionally be steered away from. However, keen to pilot Google Classroom having launched GAFE in school two months ago, we were willing to challenge tradition and experienced a resounding success with both learning outcomes and engagement.
Setting up Classroom was incredibly straightforward using the resources below which were available for students to engage with from the moment they accessed Classroom.
The seamlessness with which students were able to join our ‘Scatchers’ classroom as part of design technology in Grade 7 and immediately begin to access introductory content was profound. This together with collaborative, social features within Classroom allowed both co teachers to quickly assess coding experience in Scratch. We haven’t yet begun to utilise integrated Google Apps tools and already I see huge potential in Google Classroom supporting the continued shift in how we teacher, coach and instruct. Having resources immediately available for students to access, and utilising content produced by professionals such as below can be more authentic and meaningful to both students and teachers and create opportunities for more personalised learning approaches. Student engagement is learning was clearly heightened by this blended approach.
See below for more details of how we introduced Scratch today.
Beginning with Scratch
Following the above introduction to Scratch students rated their experience with the programming language by responding to a prompt within Classroom. Once started the were able to review instruction and advice via the resources posted within classroom allowing both co teachers to personalise their instruction as project mentors.
Their first project is to build an animation ‘all about you’ following the excellent introduction from Mitchel Resnick, LEGO Papert Professor of Learning Research, Director of the Okawa Center, and Director of the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab.
Firstly students established Scratch account- a simple process.
Building understanding of sprites as characters within an animation, backdrops as backgrounds we learnt how to move sprites, say, “hello” and add sounds.
Here are other ideas introduced:
1. ‘say’ block
2. Adding a Sprite via the Sprite library
3. Using arrows to grow/shrink sprites
4. An Event ‘Hat’
5. Adding voice recordings…
Students quickly began personalising their digital stories, which when completed will be shared via Classroom with the assignment feature and through the Scratch Community.
By the end of this project all learners will confidently be able to create an interactive digital story or game for other students to enjoy. The creative process of project based learning will be transformed by peer to peer learning, blended media and a robust collaborative environment which is both real and virtual.