Teacher Training

calendar_today14 May 2019

Inspired by the 'Teaching Unplugged' micro:bits lesson in Guyana , I asked to train the teachers first so they are confident with the devices.

Research suggests that the more confident teachers are with the technology, the greater their 'ability to inspire children with physical computing'.

Sessions

I worked with 16 teachers split into two days. Teachers learnt how to build the Kano laptops, how to use the micro:bits and the VR/AR sets.

Feedback:

I went through the printed manual guide as the teachers built the parts themselves.  The teachers were grouped into teams of two or three to build the Kano laptops.

Kano laptops: 

Some were quick to speed ahead successfully completing parts, without using the manual. This suggests teachers are comfortable building the devices by themselves.

One teacher stated that they found the laptops ‘interesting because they were creative and encouraged creativity’. The group agreed and another teacher stated that the ‘simplicity’ of the laptop was the key selling point.

A teacher made an interesting note that the screens should be touch screen because if the keyboard if lost or broken then students 'won’t be able to use the screen and then?'

Another teacher said it was ‘perfect as it can amuse and education the kids’ as the laptops were ‘lego-like’.

One teacher questioned the usage of laptops to teach young children stating that ‘computer science graduates wouldn’t have even used this, so maybe it’s useful to teach them too’.

There is the potential to use or show the devices in the prestigious technology school in Eritrea, but this will be decided by the Ministry of Education.

Merge

Teachers viewed the Galaxy Explorer and Mr. Body applications for AR and similar (combined with Google Expedition's 7 Wonders of the World) for VR.<

One teacher raised concerns of the design of the augmented reality ‘MERGE Cubes’, specifically a triangle design with an eye in the middle. The teacher explained that he does not accept this ‘evil symbol’ or Illuminati in his religion or culture. This is something to consider in regards to designs for global regions? Teachers found the cubes interactive, especially when viewing the Mr.Body app.

Micro:bits

Teachers played the the offline MakeCode editor, programming their name, a dice and numbers. Feedback included the commercial potential of using the micro:bits for shop displays - which seemed interesting as an application to explain to the kids (i.e. what ways the micro:bits could be used). Teachers seemed hesitant that this would be suitable for 7/8 year olds and better suited for the 14/15 year old groups.

Feedback for teaching:

  • Print examples of Micro:Bit activities
  • Use Shareit to send the applications
  • Ask the children to explain what they are doing when building the laptop