PD Reflection: Coding in the Classroom

As a TIS, I do try to offer professional development to staff when I am able to do so. I do love doing technology training. What I dislike about it is the low response to technology trainings. I rarely have more than a couple people attend, and sometimes no one signs up, which is what happened with my Twitter training. It can be very discouraging. I want to share my knowledge with my district, but it is hard when others don’t feel the same. It’s why I take to the internet to “promote my brand” so to speak. Even if I cannot share my work with my district, I CAN share it with others who are seeking edtech training.

With all of that said, that brings me to today’s training. I had written the agenda to include multiple grade levels for coding, but the two people that had signed up were both kindergarten teachers. One of them couldn’t come in the end, as she’d caught the flu bug from her children. I then called the other person just to make sure they were coming, as the training was to be held at a different school, and I didn’t want to drive to the site, only to have no one show up. I normally don’t do trainings on a Friday, but for some reason, I thought the 11th was a Thursday when I filled out the paperwork for the training proposal, and by the time I realized my mistake, I already had folks signed up, so I opted to leave it be. I was actually impressed that someone wanted to come to training on a Friday!

Here is the agenda I wrote up for today’s training: Agenda

As you can see, I planned to introduce Code.org, Scratch and ScratchJr., Tynker, Lightbot, CodeAcademy, Robot Turtles, and Code Monkey Island. I did narrow it down once we got started, as I wanted to gear my training toward the needs of the kindergarten teacher attending. We spent a good amount of time on Code.org, and we browsed ScratchJr. as well. She would love to have that on the iPads whenever they do get some for the classroom. We briefly explored Tynker, which wasn’t something she was into due to the cost for anything beyond free. Lightbot was another favorite, both the website version and the app versions. We did skip Code Monkey Island and went straight to Robot Turtles. I had to refresh myself on how to play the game, but she loved the concept behind it and wanted to make sure she knew where to purchase a copy.

After we went over the training, she asked me what the easiest option from the above would be to get started with in her classroom. That was easy. Code.org has my favorite program for kindergarten students as it’s mostly self-guided, and requires just a small amount of reading. She showed me an email she’d received about a Code.org training session next month in VA, and I encouraged her to go. It’s been nearly a year since I went to one, and I loved it.

After the session, we did spend some time talking, and she lamented how she had tried to bring up coding in the classroom at a faculty meeting, but the faculty hadn’t really listened, so she didn’t even finish. I told her that I believe it’s something in the county. I’ve found that very few want to attend trainings, or share their knowledge. I can only imagine what the district would be like if more teachers presented staff development training. I know there are many teachers out there with great things to share.

Even with only one person, the session as a whole ran smoothly, and I was able to cover all of my information. I did a hands-on presentation for the most part, which I do plan to adopt into the state technology conference presentation later this year if I am accepted.

Oh and remember how I said I mistakenly made the training on a Friday? It was a blessing for that teacher because she teaches a class at the wellness center on Thursdays, and would not have been able to make it had I not messed up. Who knew?

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