Monday, October 31, 2016

Kodable and 21st Century Skills

The library was busy with FACS classes during October 2016!  Mrs. LoBianco always creates engaging projects for her fifth grade students.  This month's offerings were no exception. 

STEM/STEAM, growth mindset, and 21st Century Skills are ideas gaining traction in education--and for good reason.  It is important for students to cultivate a positive mindset around facing challenges, as well as create habits that are appropriate for school, work, and beyond.  Students should develop an awareness for the types of careers that are available in their future.  Most importantly, students need to be empowered to do wonderful and interesting things NOW!  The career unit developed by Mrs. LoBianco was instrumental in addressing these larger concepts.

During the career unit, students were introduced to different jobs that are available in the burgeoning STEM field.  These careers (as well as others) rely heavily on the acquisition of 21st Century Skills.  These skills, as well as the dispositions associated with growth mindset, were discussed prior to the day's activity.

21st Century Skills contribute to success in school and work.

In order to give students a taste of what it might be like to hold a job in the STEM field, they would be working on the Kodable iPad app.  Kodable introduces students to the concept of computer coding by having students control moving a fuzz character through a series of mazes.  Kodable begins with directionality concepts, then moves into move complex coding ideas such as loops.

Before students began using Kodable, they received a preview of the reflection sheet they would fill out at the end of class.  Students were asked to use metacognition--thinking about their thinking--in order to determine the 21st Century Skills used during the Kodable activity.  We really were working with some high-level skills during this library visit!

Students then had time to work through Kodable.  They were allowed to work independently or with their classmates, but no questions were answered by the adults in the room.  This ensured that students were using their own problem solving skills to troubleshoot any issues encountered.

Some students chose to work together on Kodable.

Other students worked independently on the Kodable puzzles.

There is never enough time to work on Kodable!  It is a highly engaging activity, and students were disappointed when the period was coming to a close.  After we wrapped up with Kodable, students worked on extremely insightful reflections regarding their time coding.  It was interesting to read about the variety of skills employed during Kodable.

Assisting others, learning from mistakes, and respect are 21st Century Skills.

Exhibiting character, creativity, and collaboration are 21st Century Skills.

Organizing information, using a variety of techniques, and listening actively are 21st Century Skills.

Creativity, critical thinking, and collection of information are 21st Century Skills.

At the end of the period, students wanted more time to explore coding concepts.  The good news is that their time coding has not come to an end!  During future FACS classes, students will be adding to their coding knowledge by presenting their career research through Scratch Jr., another coding program.  More on that soon!

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