At the school I work at we have been building upon the coding knowledge to develop further skills with robotics. We bought 15 OhBots and used them to tech a progression of skills in coding and programming. For the uninitiated the Ohbot is a robot head that uses a derivative of Scratch. Priced at just over 100 pounds (about $150) it really is a good investment to teach the children coding. The OhBot allows children to generate programs quickly and encourages them to experiment and use their imagination. The OhBot is flexible in that additional sensors can be used to allow for more complex coding. We have yet to fully get to grips with it but will be sharing our work here.
The whole thing can look pretty intimidating so have I worked very closely with a colleague to develop a year 4, 5 and 6 scheme of work which allowed the children to play and explore before getting into the more nuanced specifics of coding.
To try to get the rest of the school staff enthused has been a bit of a challenge as it is time consuming and intimidating to take the hardware out of the box and programme it. So to sweeten the pill during a staff training session I gave the staff a hands-on opportunity to try the Ohbots out and the staff were immediately sold on the idea but lacked the confidence to teach a sequence of lessons on it. For the then upcoming Future Technology Week, which I was leading, I gave the staff the opportunity to book session which I would be leading. This meant that they would get CPD and I would be given a chance to deliver a lesson to many classes.
The results were impressive as I taught 3 classes in year 5 and a class in year 4. Also many other classes were led by Digital Leaders, a group of pupils keen on technology and its application in classroom settings. This helped encourage the rest of the pupils as they were guided and mentored by their peers and as a result the whole process was less intimidating.