Different from what we have been doing these past few weeks in OLPC, today we started to disassemble some XO tablets that we will be bringing on our trip to St. John. Following instructions, like the picture below (from the site: wiki.laptop.org), we learned how to dismantle the XO tablet in order to put a new battery in as well as how to replace the screen. There were a lot of screws that we had to keep track of and, luckily, my partner and I did not lose any of them. After we replaced the screen and battery, per the instructions on the site, we had to set the time on the tablets by first turning them on and then typing in a short code. Once we finished setting the time, we had to restart the tablet. If our screen did not have a sad face when it was restarting, then it meant that the time had been set. Then, if your screen did not have the sad face, you and your partner began to trouble-shoot the tablets. For instance, we checked that the keyboard was working as well as the Wifi and internet. Although it was a little stressful having to keep track of the screws and hoping that I did not break anything while taking the tablet apart, the experience was great! It made me realize what we are bringing to the kids in St. John as well as what I have signed up to take part in. Even though learning Scratch and Etoys have been fun, taking apart the tablets today was just as great. For that reason, I am more excited than I was at the beginning to travel to St. John, and help the kids there learn how to put the tablets together and use them.
This week we have been continuing to learn Etoys. Specifically, we focused on making an object follow another object. We did this through the creation of a game. In the game, we had an animal or person chasing a prize, and a “bad guy” chasing the animal or person. The object of the game was to reach the prize before being touched by the bad guy, which causes you to lose. To do this, we had to draw the characters in separate layers, and create a complicated coding sequence for each. Last week, we taught the fifth graders at CSG how to do a basic coding sequence in Scratch, and getting to teach younger students was great practice for St. John. For me, it finally sank in that we are actually going to St. John in May, and that we get to teach students there.
Please see the Photos - 2014-15 page to see photos of our experience
teaching Scratch to the 5th graders.
One Laptop Per Child students, as always, have been working extra hard these past couple of days, both inside and outside of class. Mainly, our focus has been on Etoys…we still have so much to learn! We’re are working more on using a holder to make one image change to another.
Additionally, we were given the wonderful opportunity of teaching the lower school 5th graders how to use the Scratch program. Because they used an older version of Scratch, we had to quickly familiarize ourselves to get used to the different aspects. For a lot of us, this was our first time actually teaching younger students and monitoring a class. Some of us were a little nervous about tackling on this special task (I know I was!), but overall, I think everyone did a fantastic job, and things went fairly smoothly. With the help of each other and Ms. Murakami, we were able to explain a step-by-step process of creating meet-and-greet sprites.
We were very lucky to have had this first experience. I found that demonstrating a certain process to someone else actually taught me a little more about the program. Yes, I had times where I simply did not know what to do or how to help, but I was able to learn solutions by simply clicking around. Thankfully, several of the younger girls caught on quickly and found tricks I’d never even heard of. It was so interesting to see their creative minds put into action, and I was glad to be a part of it!
In class the past couple of weeks we have been jumping back and forth from Etoys and Scratch, learning more and more about both of the programs. We have also been preparing lesson plans to use when we teach the 5th graders coming up. We are planning on teaching them to use Scratch, and make two characters walk toward each other, say something, and then walk away.
Something else we have been working on in Etoys is taking multiple pictures and make the images move so the object looks like it is being changed. For example, below I have a picture of mine. I drew 5 pictures of a Popsicle, however each drawing is different, I drew each Popsicle to get smaller as though it looks like someone is taking a bight out of it. When you put the images together, it appears to be a fast motion of someone eating a Popsicle. You could do any type of motion/ imagery, for example some of my class mates did a person smiling, or an apple falling from a tree. You could really do any action, just as long as you draw the images that represent the clips of the motions.
My favorite thing so far has been working with Etoys, and creating games, like in the screen clip above. I really enjoy creating my own characters, like the shark, and designing and picking the colors of the objects. I also like how official you can make the game, with the joystick and the “press me” button to reset the game.
Over the past couple weeks we have been using two programs: Scratch and Etoys. We have learned how to code, and create basic games and scenes. Last week in class we did something different though, we learned how to make an animation. We did a basic animation with just two pictures, but it made me realize all the possibilities that could come. I did a girl crying for my first animation, below is the picture. It was simple and the script was not as complicated as it seems. I hope in the future I will be able to make an animation with more pictures making a more complex and detailed final product. Based on the 2-picture animation below, I see it very possible for this to happen. I cannot wait to progress with learning skills, such as animations, because I know the kids in Saint John will also be eager to learn this. I am feeling very excited to teach and learn more at this point in the class.
During the school year, students will be blogging about their experiences approximately once a week. Please check back for updates.