Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Wonderful Authentic Learning Experience With The Kindergarteners For Hour of Code

Authentic learning is defined as....

Real life learning.  It is a style of learning that encourages students to create a tangible, useful product to be share with their world.  Authentic learning engages all the senses allowing students to create a meaningful, useful, shared outcome. They are real life tasks, or simulated tasks that provide the learner with opportunities to connect with the real world.  (Authentic Learning). 

When I watched the kindergarteners yesterday connect with Grechen and Jon from Kodable, I saw amazing things happening all around us as they collaborated, explored, learned, and created with the coding app.  This was the first experience the kindergarteners had with coding. They loved using the app and just did a great job.  
But until I went home and watched the Google Hangout on Air, which recorded our Google Hangout with Grechen and Jon, I didn't realize just how powerful this learning experience and connection was for the little ones.  As they worked at getting the little fuzz ball through the maze in Kodable, they asked questions, talked about strategies, problem solved, and collaborated.  
To watch their faces and see the determination, thought, and excitement was one of the best things ever. I loved that we captured this with the Google truly was real life learning and an experience they will remember.  
In Kodable as the students work through the levels they keep writing more and more lines of code. They are telling the little fuzz ball where to go in the maze that will get him the most coins.  One uses arrows and colored boxes that are moved with your finger into the right boxes to make the character move.
Kodable teaches them key ingredients of programming language by putting them into a situation that lets them learn as they play.
Grechen and Jon took the time to answer their questions which was so fun to watch and listen to.  Their questions were amazing and thoughtful.
I love how they weren't even afraid to ask either.  This was mostly because they wanted to make the little fuzz ball move and win the game!  They put this learning experience into high gear when they were able to do that.
For Gabe, and the other kindergartens, this was a super fun learning experience.  We watched his face as he asked his questions, figured out the answer, and celebrated his success.
This morning I got a text from his dad, Bart.  Bart is my friend and coworker...he is the elementary PE teacher at Van Meter.  First he wanted to know what coding apps Gabe had used in the library. 
But the text and picture he sent this afternoon truly says it all.

Gabe is teaching his younger brother how to play Kodable now too.  He is talking through it, using his knowledge, and teaching someone else something very valuable.

He took the experiences he had and passed it onto his brother.  We was connecting with the real world while teaching someone else a skill that he aquired today.

I wonder what Gabe and the others will do with coding next....I can't wait to see.
This is a copy of the longest video segment.

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