Saturday, April 7, 2018

Coding Across the Curriculum: Update 2

It's been a while since I've been able to update any progress on my Innovator Project, due to several events beyond my control, but over the last few weeks, I've been able to renew my focus on these parts of my life and make some fairly significant progress.

I think the timing of this can be quite helpful, because I know several NZ schools have not really been able to implement the new Digital Technologies Curriculum. The goal of this project is help educators implement computational thinking into their program, so there's no judgement here, just resources and assistance.

New Videos
I've managed to finish my third video for Coding Across the Curriculum and then start and complete the fourth. I've included the two here for anyone and everyone to try out themselves or with their learners. The first is focussed on making stories with Scratch and the second will help you learn how to make calculations - both simple and complex - using Scratch.

The actual process of making the videos is becoming easier with each time - though I'm still pretty nervous when filming and often trip over words - sorry about that.

Using the Videos
I've been able to do some real world testing with several of the videos I've made. With my Habitat of 89 learners, we've worked in pairs to make a quiz each. The children had a lot of fun doing this and were, for the most part, able to follow along with that video on their own. Several of the children added their own extras to the work they were doing, which was a nice added bonus. We were able to have some good conversations about coding - which was really the whole goal of the process. I even saw some children use a quiz in Scratch for their iExplore (basically Genius Hour) project. It was nice to see that in action. I did find that the Choose Your Own Adventure video was a bit harder for the children (aged 7-9) to understand, but many of them did get it.

So my recommendation to anyone out there: just give the videos to your students. Let them have a go. If you don't know how to code, do it alongside them. Start the conversation. It's not about being expert coders, but it is about being creative and solving real-world problems and learning how to think logically.

Or, as an educator, you could watch the videos and learn how to do the coding projects on your own and then teach them the way you want. They are meant to help you and help your learners develop this skill and way of thinking.

Where to Next
I'm not sure how many people will make it this far into the post, but I do have a few exciting things in the pipeline.

First off, there are more concrete plans for future videos. The next video will show how to make an interactive display (much like you would find in a museum) and future videos will deal with art, music, VR, spreadsheets and more. Now that I've found a rhythm in making these, the plan will be to have a new one every few weeks. At least that's the plan.

There are two more next steps that I am in various stages of implementing and a third one that will possibly be a bit further off.

The first new thing that I'd like to announce officially here (and announcements on Twitter and Facebook will follow in the coming days) is that there will be a MakerEdNZ newsletter. The current plan is to have a monthly, one page newsletter that will have links to various resources or videos. There will be a coding tie-in, which will highlight a specific coding block or command (and linked into a video which uses the same block or command), a link to a Digital Breakout and some links to ideas that can be used in the classroom. If you are interested in subscribing to this newsletter, please fill out the subscription form below. I expect the first issue to be ready to be emailed out in mid-April.

The second thing I'm starting to explore will be a coding contest. I'm likely to make this NZ-wide. I've still got to work out MANY details of this, but it is definitely in the pipeline and I would like to do this before the end of 2018. 

The third thing I'm looking at doing is to start some free meet-ups for educators who are interested in discussing or learning about coding. I want to focus on the other things at the moment, but am definitely open to anyone who is willing to help me run these. But this may be something that comes about in 2019. We shall see.

So that's where things stand at the moment. I'm pretty excited about all the ideas I've been getting the last little while and the fact that now I've got a resource of four videos (over an hour of content).

Have a look at the videos, and if you have feedback it will be greatly appreciated. If you like the videos, subscribe to the channel and use them with your learners. The support will help and it lets me know that they are being used.

Look forward to some new updates in the coming months and in the meantime SUBSCRIBE to the upcoming newsletter.


  1. Wow Michael this is fantastic! Ka pai. Love that there will be a Maker Ed newsletter, can't wait to read it. We do d on the Coding videos and keep this #oresome #BreakOuts coming. You sir, are a Maker rockstar!