So, I have been searching, and looking and diving into various coding platforms and whatnot to find something that is more tangible for my current situation; FDELK.
You seen from my E.C.E. background I know that the ‘abstract’ is unavailable for my students currently, that being said I have explored and tried various coding programs out. These include Box Island (very cute but comes at a cost), The Foo’s, Kodable, ScratchJr and Scratch Kids Lite. You can see some of my adventures and posts within Twitter at @ArcherJoe with these applications.
All of these mentioned coding programs and applications work within the abstract world that kinders and early primary students do not fully understand. so, again searching for an answer I kept my mind open and continued the watch. This past week I went to Niagara Falls and ventured to Canconnect, where I believe I may have found an answer.
mBot is a fantastic tool for beginners to learning graphical programming (yes that’s right graphical; picture cued programming), electronics and robotics. This is an educational robot kit, where you actually build the mBot that is also compatible with regular lego. So, eventually you can also purchase add-on’s (lego-like) that could go along with the mBot. At its most basic functions it uses Scratch Programming through wireless control means via applications. Once students become more advanced it also uses Arduino programming so it can be used within all grade levels and ability levels; hence ‘the answer / solution’ to my preconceived notion and thoughts regarding coding in the kinder / primary classroom.
Don’t get me wrong; the Sprites in Scratch are very cute, but without one to one correlations, somewhat decent math understanding in adding, subtraction, directionality ‘Sprites’ do not provide a thorough or meaningful means of ‘seeing’ and ‘understanding’ what coding actually is deep down beneath everything.
So, being super intrigued and very excited I will try to ensure I share my experience along the way with MY new toy / experiment; mBot. Tomorrow I will be opening the actual box and giving this ‘tangible means’ of experiencing coding a whirl!
Stay tuned for updates and stories……
If anyone is using something other than mBot that is tangible please let me know!! I love to learn from others….I do know of Lego Storm Troopers, but my wife would probably move me to the couch if I spent over $500 to learn more about coding ‘just for fun’ and I am very partial to the bed!!