So Professional Development is always an interesting day. The chance to learn how to make our practice better. With so many options it is often challenging to choose what to do. The problem for me is often this question, With so many fads in education it is tough to choose what will be productive. Pressure gets put on to attend different Development days and often they make little or no impact on my teaching.
This year I chose CUEBC to attend and enjoyed it thoroughly. I have been to this conference before but was disappointed the last time I went so it has been a few years. In my class I am thinking of trying to have students start coding and wanted to have some resources or structure to set this up. My day brought me a few things I can honestly say I am excited about.
First was the Keynote: George Couros who delivered an entertaining and thought provoking speech about understanding the world our students are living in and how to begin to connect with the students through different ways. I found it easy to stay focused on the speech as he used a lot of humour to keep me engaged. I did though take some time to set up my class Twitter account at the same time which I am looking forward to.
Next I went to Lighthouse Labs presentation of Coding for Beginners. After some basics reviewed like js, html and css are the basic codes of the internet we got into some great places to get our students started in coding.
Code school offers free courses in many codes for especially for web design.
Code Academy has many as well and I have had a student learn and create a web page before with the tutorials at this site.
I was very intrigued by some of the Ruby coding sites because they actually look fun
Ruby Warrior looks like the students would really enjoy getting to know Ruby code as they move the character through the levels.
Code Combat is another site that looks pretty fun as you learn code.
So I found some great resources for coding and decided to turn my attention to Robotics.
Man, robotics look pretty cool. By using Vex IQ or Lego Mindstorm it looks like a fantastic way to have the students work collaboratively to complete tasks. Some simple programming will be needed so setting up a student team will make the classroom a far better place where they can learn with intention. Our speaker was Brian Yu who suggests teams of 5 but I will probably work with teams of 7 based on the numbers in my class. Teams basically have a designer, driver, programmer, builder and researcher but I am sure I can put a couple of students on a couple of jobs.There are many benefits of having the robotics in the class and am looking forward to purchasing the kits so my class can begin using them.
So two things to be excited about in one day. That doesn't happen very often in a ProD for me.
Last I went back to see the Keynote who again was engaging as he spoke about using Edublogs and having teachers and students use them to create a cover letter online. It was very interesting as well but my mind was already figuring out how I put the first two workshops in place (and I suddenly couldn't connect to wifi) so I noted this down as something to research further. George's website I linked above is already a great example and I am sure that when I switch my blog around a bit or start a new one I can use his ideas.