We’ve been offline for a while, and for this we apologize. Here is what our last month has looked like:
2/15 – Snow Day, Session Cancelled
2/22 - Session Completed
2/29 – Session Completed
3/7 – Northeastern Spring Break, No Session
3/14 - Session Completed
3/21 – Snow Day, Session Cancelled
We are a little behind in our lesson plan due to snow days, and since our first session this lesson plan has been altered and adapted many, many times. The coding channel on our slack account is a constant whirl of activity.
One major change in our teaching methods has been the shift from issuing imagined challenges to issuing tangible challenges utilizing physical objects. For the session on March 14th, the team used folders and tape guidelines on a test table as a maze, and the students were able to test their code on the maze, and make adjustments accordingly. The response was incredible: it brought out their competitive spirit and make the lesson exciting. We have discovered the importance of activities in the classroom, and will work to continue to incorporate this in the future.
We maintain that interacting with the students is the most rewarding aspect of the project. We had mentioned in a previous blog post how driven some of our students are, and this continues to amaze us. We have worked to make the environment free and friendly, such that the students can be themselves. As a result, the volunteers have been able to get to know the students on a more personal level. One of the students is working on mastering a sixth language, another plans to build his own robot for his school’s science fair.
Their learning paces are different, as are their reactions to success and failure. Some students are eager to get their hands dirty, understanding the tasks before we even begin, while others wait until we arrive to help. Some students react to their success with excitement and delight, and display visible frustration when faced with a particularly challenging task. Others, to our confusion, wear the same expression the entire time. But they come back, week after week (even when we mess up the pizza order).
Our volunteers have been so good to us – incredibly flexible, ultra-adaptable. We recognize the difficulties of having a program that runs from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm on a Monday afternoon, but luckily with eight we can send less if a major exam is coming up. We are working on an exit interview strategy. We plan to have a meeting with all of the volunteers on Sunday, April 3rd. At this meeting, we will first have them fill out a survey for the program. This survey will encompass their opinions on the students’ comprehension and satisfaction, their personal comprehension and satisfaction, and how well the coding team taught the material. We plan to then have a recorded discussion with the group as a whole, using the survey to guide the discussion.
We have a session coming up on the 28th, so watch out for a recap on that blog post!
See you soon,