Coding, robotics & IT professional development for Queensland librarians
Coding Kids visited Cooroy Library and Gympie Library to share our knowledge on coding, robotics and IT with Queensland librarians. Council libraries around Queensland are enthusiastic and committed to sharing coding, robotics and IT skills and projects with their local community. Children are invited to their workshops to learn about technology and build their own coding, robotics or IT projects.
Like with most professional development workshops, the workshop covers a range of topics. The aim of our workshops is to become familiar with new technologies and platforms and to get to a stage where the PD participants feel comfortable with having a go and exploring the space further. There is so much to learn when it comes to coding, robotics and IT workshops for children. But the one day workshop is a great day to spend exploring new technologies and how to deliver it to children in a fun and engaging way.
At Cooroy Library we covered how to:
- Program with Scratch and build your own computer games and animations
- Integrate MaKey MaKey with Scratch and create your own game controller
- Assemble and program mBot – the educational robot
- Engage children with circuitry and imagination using littleBits
We built two simple games with Scratch: Cat catches the fish and Knight collects the coins. These games allowed us to explore: XY coordinates, positive and negative numbers, making decisions / checking conditions, touching / collision detection, variables, generate random number, and animating using still images.
We looked at an advanced level game and broke it down into a flowchart to see how we could use the skills we learned in building simple games to build a more complex game. Large problems can be broken down into smaller, more accessible problems.
We integrated a MaKey MaKey kit with one of the Scratch games we made earlier. With the MaKey MaKey kit we connected various conductive materials to build our own game controller. Materials we used included: snake lollies, pieces of fruit, nuts and bolts, aluminium foil, cup of tea, and blue tack.
We sometimes needed reminding that we needed to close the circuit by touching both the conductive material and the earth cable. A closed circuit allows the electricity to flow and therefore trigger the input e.g. keyboard keys or left mouse click.
The mBots arrived unassembled. We assembled the mBots in class. Then we attempted to program the mBots to be able to follow the line. The mBot kit came with a black figure-8 track on white paper. This was a bit tricky, we got started but the PD participants will have to continue with the programming to finish it off.
We also noticed that a couple of mBots had their line following sensor installed upside down, that means that the sensor was not facing the ground, i.e. the track, and therefore could not sense the black lines on white paper. That was a good lesson learnt.
We played with the littleBits and learned that each colour has a different meaning. The circuit modules came in four colours:
- Blue: Power
- Pink: Input e.g. button, slider, switches, light sensor, sound sensor
- Green: Output: LED, buzzer, fan, DC motor.
- Orange: Extend or branch out e.g. wires, fork.
At Gympie Library we covered:
- MaKey MaKey
- Lego Mindstorms EV3
Scratch, MaKey MaKey and littleBits were covered in a similar way as at Cooroy Library.
At Gympie Library we also covered Lego Mindstorms EV3. We started with programming simple programs on the EV3. We progressed to using sensors as inputs in our programming. Then we looked at how to program EV3 to follow a black line, a track, on a white mat. It was a bit tricky, but the PD workshop participants did a great job at having a go.
IT professional development training for teachers and librarians can be a lot of fun. Take the time to be guided through the engaging tech activities for children. It’s an enjoyable activity for adults and children alike.
Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like more information about our professional development training options for you and your staff. We can develop a training programme to suit your staff and organisational requirements.