Hey, my name is Zélia Capitão-Tavares, and I’m an elementary teacher with the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) in Toronto, Canada.
This year in my role as a Hybrid Teacher Digital Lead Learners, I have been a part of a team where we provide support to Virtual School educators. This guidance comes in the form of leveraging the district digital learning tools and reinforcing academic progress. We do this through a series of focus group webinars and drop-in sessions and email. While also building resources for parents, educators and students to access away from our sessions.
It has been a privilege to co-teach with several educators within our board exploring computational thinking, design thinking, coding and STEM.
The Kano PC allows students in elementary grades to be provided with an opportunity to explore components of building a computer. While engaging in the apps and lessons through the ‘Kano Education: Creative Computing Curriculum’ focusing on computing, coding and so much more.
The Kano PC resources have a great mix of teacher-led lessons and student-led learning. With the opportunity to follow the simple steps at their own pace: learn the basics, move through challenges quickly & create on their own! We explored and learnt together over the few days we collaborated virtually.
“Learning deeper about things I know about and helped me to see it in a new way.”
How do you know when students are excited about exploring new learning opportunities? When they reach out for additional check-ins to plan the next steps and move forward! The student leader would ask to meet up more frequently to further discuss the components of a computer and the prospect of building her own computer.
Challenges we encountered were connected to working during a pandemic and giving students access to the device who was learning from home. With the support of one student, whose family agreed to have the device in their home, we were able to explore the many components, apps and features of the Kano PC.
A big hit was the external flexible webcam as it acted in part as a document camera. This came in handy during our STEM build challenges as the student was able to lead and model small group sessions on safely setting up the tools and using them for our lessons on building. The student leader enjoyed exploring Kano Code with guided step-by-step instructions exploring loops, variables, if-then statements guiding her to build upon her code.
“I loved moving onto the next steps and the new levels while learning. Getting the advancements was super fun and inspiring! I had no challenges with this one because it is still pretty simple and it’s giving me exact directions. In our class, we have been learning about coding using MakeCode for MicroBits and in Minecraft Education Edition, so I had some experience with coding.”
Also, opportunities to remix code from other creators too and make it something of her own, applying her own creative twist.
This experience continues to reaffirm that providing students with experiential learning opportunities through code and building an understanding of building computers benefits students in many ways. Whether that be problem-solving, creativity and ongoing communication and collaboration. We hope to further explore, learn and create with the Kano PC in our class community.