It has been an exciting and busy start to the year in the ICT Department. We have been reimagining our curriculum to better meet the needs of our students and prepare them for the world that they are going to live in. We have introduced a robotics programme, began looking into 3D design and manufacturing with our new 3D printer and placing a higher focus on Computer Science and coding. This has all been happening at the same time as we have begun our journey into BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) in Milepost 3.
All students, from Year 1 to 6, learn about coding through the Scratch program and this is an amazing and engaging set of units where students create games and programs at the same time as developing important skills, such as logic, reasoning, problem solving, computational thinking and sequencing, which they are able to apply to all other subject areas. The Year 5 and 6 students are currently creating platform video games that are full of variables and blocks of code, but they are also responsible for developing the digital media within the game, visuals and creating a storyline to sell the game to the players.
With our Robotics program, we have purchased two new class sets of robots for Years 3 to 6. Foundation and Milepost 1 have always had access to Robotics through BeeBots, where they have to sequence code for the robot to move through a maze or set of obstacles, but with our new additions of WeDo and Mindstorms we are not able to continue this learning of physical coding into the upper years of the primary in new and challenging ways.
Certain Year 6 classes have been part of the programme and have looked at ways that the robots that they have built are able to solve a set of challenges using a variety of sensors that they have installed on their robots like Ultraviolet Colour Sensors, Touch Sensors and Distance Sensors. Once they have their robot constructed and have assessed the problem, they are then able to create codes to operate their builds on our new iPads and send the code to the robots wirelessly through Bluetooth technology. This instantaneous method of code transfer between device and robot has allowed students to better test and develop their coding skills and understanding of the learning objectives. If a student sends through a code to a robot, they are able to instantly test it, see if it works and then quickly modify the code and test it again and this is developing a culture of ‘Failing Forward’ within our students.
After School Clubs
Robotics has also become a part of our after school clubs. Year 3 and 4 have been using WeDo to create race cars that are motor powered, coded to complete a given task and through the use of a motion/distance sensors they are able to be told to move, stop or change speed depending on the conditions. The Year 5 and 6 club has been looking at how to build more complex robots and are learning about how to incorporate a wider range of loops and switches into their code sequence so that their bots are able to respond and act based on a wider range of variables.
Follow us on Twitter
If you want to know more about the happenings inside the ICT classrooms you could follow our new Twitter page, @BIS_DREAMSlab. Wondering why we chose the word 'DREAMS'? Stay tuned for further information on why DREAMS is the new STEAM...
Mr Luke Dyer, ICT & DT Lead Teacher