Yesterday I gave another coding class. That time I took another approach.
The third lesson went more organized than the previous, but still, a lot of things need to be improved.
Recently made the second lesson. It passed better but was far more than perfect.
Yesterday I had the first coding class. I want to reflect a little bit on the received experience.
The administration offered me one hour after school on Friday. I came to school 30 minutes earlier to prepare everything. That was the right decision.
First, I must describe how I equipped the class. There was a projector, an iPad, and a MacBook. Everything was connected to a GL.iNet router. My iPhone also was connected to the router and provided an internet connection.
The first issue I got with Google Presentations. I prepared a presentation. The app told me that it needed an internet connection despite that Offline mode was enabled. The speed of the internet connection was slow, and the presentation was freezing every time. After some workarounds, I solved the issue by moving the iPhone on the terrace. My take off here is don’t rely on cloud services, and I must test everything in advance.
I started with 5 minutes delay but made a presentation to the students. The students switched on the computers, then I gave the mouses, and we caught another issue. The mouses were wireless with Bluetooth USB receivers. I tested them at home by connecting them sequentially. They worked fine. I didn’t take into account that students would switch on each mouse in a different order. So, you can imagine what happened next. All the mouses pared to random receivers. We spent about 10 minutes pairing each mouse.
Finally, we were ready to start. Another surprise was when my son, who was supposed to assist me, asked me for a computer too. Oh boy, that is what I didn’t expect at all. I had six laptops allocated to 12 students. I also had my laptop connected to the projector. I gave him mine. From then, my son was making the demonstration instead of me. He was making a story in Scratch. I tried to explain everything simultaneously and stopped him from doing something too complex for the first lesson.
The first class was very challenging for me, but I hope the kids enjoyed it. They were laughing at funny things in Scratch. They were helping each other when someone was stuck. They were asking me questions and showing the results. At the end of the class, each group created their first small project. I had an idea to make a small website, where all the projects we’ll be published automatically. But that will be the next story.
Our class don’t have a dedicated room, so we must bring the computers, connect and move them out after the class. A better option would be to use laptops. A good option would be ARM-based Pinebook Pro, but the manufacturer is experiencing a severe shortage on microchips. Other budget laptops what I’ve seen are at very poor quality. As I pay for the hardware by myself, I want to be very thrifty.
Having good developed education plan gives more confidence in teaching.
My class will have kids at ages from 6 to 8. I assume coding on Python would be quite challenging for them, so I’ll stick with visual coding.
My two sons go to private Montessori school here in Alicante. It’s small but has a very friendly and cooperative environment. I thought how can I contribute back to the school, apart from just paying the fees. An idea came up to me. Why not share my experience in coding? Also, my older son is seven and shows consistent interest in computers, so I would mash two potatoes with one fork.