The First Digital Break Out – The Isles of Reptonia

With everything we do in schools now, there is no better way to get pupils to understand the concepts than to link it back to everyday life.  I am a very hands-on learner.  I really do have to be immersed in the physical making and doing, to understand it.

So with that in mind, I try to ensure that all student are given the opportunity to excel.

When teaching coding to KS2 we touch upon a range of different elements and by the third term pupils are confidently coding a range of different robotic systems.  All with the topical insight about why that specific system may have been developed. We discuss how @Sphero could be similar to a driverless vehicle, how @Parrot Drones are used in tracking down sources of water, heat and areas which we cannot physically, or safely reach.  We don our space imaginary space suits and blast off to Mars with @LEGOEducationUK, considering why we cannot land on Mars or even why we would want to?

The realistic approach to teaching and learning is key to the development and understanding of each child, I can differenciate to a much deeper level with robotics as we can scaffold for some and increase the complexity for others.   So, why do we need to know these things, if there isn’t a credible reason to do so.  With a future of uncertain job structures, our pupils need to learn so many skills to enable them to be adaptable.

Coding is such an amazing way of being able to get them to become more adaptable to ever-changing circumstances. Keeping pupils on their toes, they never know what my classroom may morph into when they step through the door.  What they do know is, I will always be able to link everything they do to a reason and their topic.

So how do we go wider and get the whole school to collaborate under these changing circumstances? Get pupils to see the bigger picture?

Take a look at below, filmed using the PadCaster

For a whole afternoon, we had verticle learning, house teams, with a range of scenarios and pupil ability.  Pupils were pushed out of their comfort zone, using all of their coding and programming knowledge they worked as teams to save stranded villagers on the islands, find sources of water and navigate around areas of natural disaster.  It was wonderful to watch as they discussed and negotiated, using critical thinking and problem-solving skills. I even threw an @Kahoot in there for pupils to keep them on their toes.

The most important part, the pupils enjoyed it.  They understood how their technology, which quite often is taken for granted, really can begin to solve larger problems.

This was the first, with only 170 students, the next was to be more complex and need many more elements to ensure all learners were engaged.

If you would like to know more about how to create Learning Experiences in your school, click below.

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