The year-long class is almost over. Exams are right around the corner. So is the trip.
Please visit the Trip Blog for 2017 to see how we fare on our second trip to Barbados!
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Recently in One Laptop per Child, and as the year comes to a close, we have been working on finishing up our online Scratch lessons about Geography before the culminating trip at the end of the year. While I will not be traveling, just being in the class has been such an amazing experience. I have learned so much not only about technology, but also helping others and being creative. I have really enjoyed all of our projects this year, however I am particularly enjoying our current lesson project, and finding creative ways to teach information that is presented in a fun and exciting way. From teaching the 4th graders at our school about coding, to learning how to use the Scratch program, and to our current final project, it has been such an amazing experience, and I can not wait to see what One Laptop does in the future!
Since the last time that I posted on the blog, we have changed our projects. It was a very humbling experience to admit that our other projects were too complicated to finish. Despite the problems with the last project, our new projects are going very well. We are working on projects about body systems. My first project was the digestive system, and this was a very long project. Since finishing that recently, my new project is about the urinary system. The projects are difficult, but it is very special to work on them knowing that they will help educate children around the world. In addition, we are working on preparing for our trip to Barbados! The meetings we have had are aiming to prepare our group to teach about Scratch and to work together. I am so excited to work with the kids, and of course, enjoy the beaches!
Recently in OLPC I have been designing lessons centering around the circulatory, nervous, and respiratory system to be used for teaching the Barbados kids during the upcoming May Program trip. To keep the lessons interesting and fun, I have been exploring different ways I can use Scratch to make them interactive. This way, the kids won’t just be sitting at their computers reading definitions and explanations, but instead actively participating in the lessons. The structure I’ve been using most are multiple choice questions that are still information-rich but allow the kids to participate and require them to remain attentive during the lesson.
These past few weeks we have been working really hard in class to finish up our big projects in scratch. We have been designing lessons that some of our students will use to teach students in Barbados at the end of the year. One class is creating lessons on the countries of the world and my class, small but mighty, are creating lessons to teach about the different systems in the human body. These lessons are being created on Scratch, a program we are all familiar with but this project has really pushed us out of our comfort zone and has challenged us to make it way more advanced then what we learned in our freshmen media class. For me I have been experimenting with using a lot of sprites and transitions, which all though can be difficult to keep track of which commands go with which sprite, has showed me that it is possible and can have a really cool effect. Oddly enough, working on this project is extremely relaxing for me and I love classes where I can put my headphones in and just get to work on my project. I’m looking forward to seeing how all of our projects turn out!
This week in One Laptop Per Child we are continuing our continent projects. We only have a few classes left and everyone’s projects are really coming together! We also started exploring the XO laptops that we will be using in Barbados. The software is awesome, and we even got apps on our phones that help us explore XO further. So far class has been going really well and I think everyone is learning a lot. Programming these continent lessons takes a lot of patience, but I’m really excited that these are going to help people learn. It is a very rewarding experience!
In One Laptop Per Child this week, we have been working on our Scratch projects. My project is about South America, and this week I made the countries into clickable sprites. This means that when you select a country, it will bring you to a page about that country. I’m now working on adding small games to the page from every country, (multiple choice, true, false, etc.). By working with Scratch, I have learned more about making new stages and sprites. I successfully was able to make a stage for every country that includes every country flags. Other people in the class are using scratch along with games and maps to create lessons about other continents. Scratch is fun and easy to use, and I can’t wait to continue building our games for other kids to use.
In OLPC we have been working on creating lessons about Continents on the older version of Scratch. Everyone has a different continent and we are putting facts about the countries, geography, culture, among other things. Many, if not all of us, have never used the older version of Scratch. It is cool to see the differences between the different versions and see which one you like to use better. The continent that I am researching is Africa. I have decided to allow the child using the lesson to be able to choose what part of Africa they want to learn about by adding a map and a cursor. Others have added maps, pictures, flags and many other things. Since the age group that these lessons are aimed towards are younger we have to be careful about how complex we make it. I have definitely learned a lot about both Scratch and communicating with younger kids.
Throughout the past few weeks in One Laptop Per Child, my class has been working on preparing a series of interactive, electronic lessons about the major world countries and oceans. Each student has taken the responsibility of creating individual lessons about a particular continent, and we recently just began coding games and information into our lessons.
While coding isn’t necessarily something that comes easily to me, the project is allowing me to be creative, and forcing me to think in ways I never have before, in trying to figure out how to code a part of a lesson, or coming up with ways to make the material fun and interesting. While it has been quite challenging, the experience so far has been so rewarding, and I can’t wait to see the finished product of our set of lessons. It feels so good to know that all of our hard work will help so many kids in need, and that through the process, I have been able to learn so much more about not only coding and thinking creatively, but also about myself.
This past week in One Laptop Per Child we have continued to work on our projects for our Barbados service trip! We all have figured out the direction we are going with our projects, and what we want to showcase about each continent. I have Antarctica, and I am making it interactive while teaching the kids about the different countries that have ownership of the unique continent. I have learned a lot about Scratch recently since we are using the old version. The new and the old version of Scratch differ in many little ways. I had gotten used to the new version over the past couple weeks and know where everything is new again with the old version!
These projects have been a really good learning experience because while making this I have had to think about what appeals to children and what is easy for them to understand. I’ve definitely started to step outside my comfort zone with this project, but I’ve really enjoyed it I can’t wait to actually show the kids my project!