Olin university chapter/Projects/Curriculum/summary


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Things that we successfully touched upon in 7 weeks (from ___ list).


Braindump from 4-28-10, last day of "Computer Creations"

Uncategorized thoughts

  • Explosion of shared collaborative knowledge! -- once a cool thing is learned, very rapidly propogates to other
    • Computers are kind of an unexplored space. Classroom is only things that teacher introduces, the opportunity isn't there.
    • Are computers a necessary interface for this type of learning?
      • to what extent is this type of teaching actually taking place in the classroom?
  • Interesting REALLY really long term research project
  • Sense of control over one's learning?
  • tricky to know how hard to push kids
    • B. as an example. Not interested in low level (name writing), but really took to more challenging projects, even if we did have to walk him through them to a certain extent.
    • Same kind of true with M. -- really had to sit with him the entire class (2nd grader)
  • It really helps to keep the grade levels the same! (noticeable difference between 2nd and 5th graders -- Nathan was also young, but he had a brother (5th grade) and family that was particularly supportive of the work)
  • Degree of success is pretty high, considering that none of us have any teaching experience.
  • Elsa planned out the progression of things we wanted them to learn. The activities were intended to get to those, but we never followed those. They got there semi-independently.
  • Worked out very nicely -- but how much can you rely on this to work out nicely if you let them just do things on their own?
    • Was this a fluke? (emphasis mine - Andrea's - as I'm particularly interested in the replicability of this approach)
  • Would we have had better luck with something like Scratch? E-toys? Block programming as well (repeats, but maybe not variables)
    • Easier to incorporate multimedia things
    • Learning Scratch could potentially facilitate an introduction to TurtleArt
      • Simpler to learn commands
      • Etoys is likely too bulky for the XO (everything takes too long!)

If we were to do this again:

  • Use mice (at least within an after school context)
  • Number of activities we had on the computer was leading to distraction?
    • We lost a lot of time to things such as "XOlympics" -- our group wasn't quite at a place where we could segue into a Python introduction.
  • Music and art course next time?

Digression: music education

  • if you take away the instrumental interface -- make purely tech.
    • does it facilitate improvisation?

Usability issues that we encountered (needs more formal organization at some point, leave somewhere more accessible)

  • journal, especially
    • File interface ( deleting more than one, deleting things)
    • Keep system - no feedback on whether its been saved
    • Weird saving thing -- never know if it saved, etc, warning
    • can't control mesh network you're on
  • every technical person who has done system things -- this is a nightmare! (not necessarily a bad idea)
  • but what shows this is a bad idea -- kids can't find their work, no encouragement to rename files, etc etc.
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