I haven’t written since the beginning of the year, but as you can see, the students have been busy. As they start to stress about upcoming exams, I’ve given them the rest of the year off from the blog and I will write this last post before the trip in May.
I think one of the most exciting things for me this year was donating all those laptops locally, and sometimes even with face to face interactions while teaching students. I feel so good about the laptops new homes. Until about a week ago, I was feeling a little self-conscious about donating old equipment, but the New York Times recently did one of those projects where they asked teachers across the country to write in and talk about what it’s like to be a teacher today. The story that really got me was a 5th grade teacher who was given five old laptops and told to teach 35 kids how to keyboard! Not only that, there was a picture of one of the laptops and it had five keys missing! There are so many things wrong with that situation. The obvious problem is the student to computer ratio. But beyond that is the fact that the keys are broken and the class itself is so huge. With that many keys missing we would have put the laptop in the discard pile and sent it to be recycled. It made me feel really good about the donations and I really hope that we continue to get plenty of old laptops to continue this great project. We found new homes for over 40 laptops! And ALL OF THEM HAD ALL THEIR KEYS!!!
As we near the end of the year and the beginning of the trip, I am excited that we will be in three different classrooms this year! I have enough students that we fill the Villa Marie completely and can reach so many more students. As of this moment, I’m still finalizing the numbers, but with one school at 76 and the other school at 48, we will most certainly reach more students than ever before. I won’t try to anticipate too much here. You’ll get all the details when the students start to blog next month. But it is really exciting that after two years of very low numbers, we can have a greater impact this year.
My students are ready. My chaperones are excited, and most of the plans have been made. Stay tuned for the details!
Recently in One Laptop Per Child, we have been working on finishing up our Scratch Projects. For my project I chose to make a spelling test, to help kids practice their spelling. Some other projects are: solving math facts, exploring different countries, comparing healthy vs. unhealthy food choices, and many more! Along with our projects, we are also making booklets to explain how we made our projects, so that we can teach kids in Barbados how to make a project similar to ours, if that is what they want to do. The booklets are proving to be more difficult than the actual project because it is very difficult to write down your entire thought process without creating instructions where someone will duplicate your project exactly, rather than include their own creativity. I am very excited for our projects to be shown to the kids, and I hope that they like them!
Hi, everyone! I am Catherine and am one of the students in One Laptop Per Child. During these classes, I created a Scratch multiplication project that allowed children to practice multiplication. In addition, I created a booklet for this project so that the Barbadian teachers could utilize this booklet to create more Scratch projects and benefit the students there. I feel that it was a very meaningful experience because I was learning a lot about myself. While teaching a fourth grader, I learned that I need to teach the kids how to explore coding by themselves instead of doing everything for them. Though it was hard to see a kid struggling, I finally realized that I needed to let them experience failure and achieve success on their own.
Recently in One Laptop, most of us have just finished our sample projects that we created specifically for children so they could recreate the projects and learn from them. The big packet of all the games together is being created so we will have more to teach students in after school programs and Barbados that are interested in learning. Later this week, a few students and I will be going to Westerville to work with kids and teach them how to use Scratch using these sample games all the students have just created! These types of opportunities have given me chances to advance my teaching skills, which made me realize that I actually like teaching very much! Freshman year we worked a bit with Scratch but over the course of this year I’ve been able to go out on my own and learn more and more about Scratch every day. The trip that Mackenzie, Merill, and I went on to the Family Shelter in Bexley was a great experience that made me feel more prepared for Barbados, and it has been my favorite thing we’ve done so far. I’m so excited to further my knowledge and prepare for Barbados while we work towards the end of the year!
Recently in class, we have been creating Scratch projects with partners. We are making our projects into little booklets to show other people how they can use our basic outline to make their own games and creations.
Myself and several other students went to the YWCA shelter and taught the children there how to use Scratch. I learned a lot about the best ways to teach kids, and how to be entertaining and interactive so we can keep them engaged. I am excited to teach more kids about the endless possibilities of Scratch in the future!
I’m so glad that I’ve been able to be a part of One Laptop per Child this year as I have learned so much and as the classes go by, I get more and more excited for the trip. So far this semester, we have been discussing and preparing for the trip by creating new games and learning opportunities to share with the kids once we arrive. Elena and I have been working on a game that allows the children to discover and learn about the different types of animals. As we have been making the game, we have also written up a script to teach them how to make their own. I have enjoyed going to class every day because I know I will always come out knowing something new. Not only has this opened my eyes to the differences between myself and the children in Barbados, but it has given me a chance to adjust the way I work so I feel a lot more confident knowing the kids I work with will come out knowing the basics and beyond of Scratch. Before this class started, I didn’t really think I would enjoy the coding and computer work as much as I have been. By making these projects, we are providing an opportunity for kids to explore outside of their typical school lifestyle and knowing what I am doing in the classroom is going to really help these kids out, makes it that much more enjoyable.
So far this year in OLPC, I have learned a lot more about Scratch and all the different things that it can be used for. For example I never realized how helpful this system can be to teachers for so many different school subjects, such as math, health, and science. The booklets that we have been making as a class are going to be extremely helpful to teachers who are interested in learning about the many uses of Scratch and how they can incorporate it into their lesson plans. Also this week I was able to help Mrs. Murakami finish sorting through, cleaning, and equipping the last of the laptops with Ubuntu. While it's sad to see some of the laptops go, it's great progress to be able to check that part of this project off of the list.
Overall, this class has taught me not only about Scratch as a program, but also how it can be used to help others. Passing this valuable knowledge to kids (and adults) in Barbados or other places we've reached such as the YWCA will really make a difference. I am extremely excited to teach the kids in Barbados, and teaching the Lower School students here only heightened my excitement. I love OLPC for this amazing opportunity that can truly have an impact on so many people.
Currently in class, Haley and I have been working on a drag and drop project. For this project we have a picture of a cell and all the names to the side of the screen. The person playing the game has to drag the correct name to the corresponding part. At first we struggled with this task and we tried to use colors instead of words. We were missing the "forever" tab which was why we having so much trouble making our game work. I think we were over complicating what we actually had to do. After a few classes of playing around with the tools and discussing with Mrs. Murakami, we realized a simpler way to do it. The point of this project is to make a set of instructions for the children in Barbados to learn how to replicate the project Haley and I made. Therefore, we didn't want to make it too complicated and I think we have come up with a good way to proceed.
Through OLPC, I have learned so much about Scratch and coding. I have never believed myself to be good at computers or programming, but through this class I have learned how truly simple it really is. I have had so much fun learning new things that are truly beneficial for future jobs, etc. I love teaching others new things because it is such an enjoyable process. When teaching the 4th grade students at school, I loved watching how excited they got when they learned a new skill or completed a code and watched their script being put into action. Although I am not going to Barbados, I am so happy that my classmates will be able to teach those kids skills that could truly impact their lives. I love OLPC and am so glad that I get to learn these important computer skills!
One Laptop Per Child has taught me so much more about Scratch and the other different ways it can be used, alternative to coding. While I knew Scratch helped kids to work with and understand code, I now see that it can be used in a way to teach students in other areas of schooling as well. During class this week we worked on projects in groups where we are expanding on the idea of using Scratch for new purposes. My partner is Addie and together we are making a project where you are able to touch different parts of a flower and learn about each part. We document each step we take through this project and put it all on a word document which the kids and teachers in Barbados can use to create their own projects similar to it. By making these projects, we are giving them an idea of what they could do and allowing them to expand upon it and figure out different ways to incorporate other subjects with Scratch.
I never thought of myself as a big coder or very tech savvy, but through Scratch I've learned so much more about coding. It has greatly helped build my confidence with computers and understanding code and when I am able to complete a project I feel very accomplished. My favorite part about Scratch so far is how you have free range over everything and don't have to follow instructions to make the code. Scratch allows a large amount of creativity which can be shown by the end products of our projects.
One Laptop per Child has taught me a lot in such a short period of time. So far, we have spent out classes not only discussing our upcoming trip, but also coming up with more ways to help people who aren't as fortunate as I am by teaching them the basics and beyond of Scratch. As a class, we have been creating new games and quizzes in different subjects, like math and history. My group has been working on a game to teach about different types of dinosaurs, and then creating an easy to follow booklet to teach others how to do the same.
I have also learned an incredible amount about helping others which is much easier than I initially thought. By continuing our booklets and other in-class work, we can teach more children the basics of scratch and make computers and computer software available to more people. I really appreciate the opportunity to help people in whatever way possible.