Primary Schools Outreach trial #1 – SUCCESS!

I was lucky enough to trial my Kano computers at a primary school. 

My objectives were that:

  • Students would get a rich and robust computing based challenge
  • Students would go home enthused and tell parents/carers to buy one for Christmas and therefore further their learning at home
  • Teachers would not have to be knowledgable or experienced in computing in order to offer this opportunity

Unfortunately I do not have the ability to get feedback from parents/carers about the experience, but all other objectives were successful.

This letter arrived a few days after this event.  It made me very happy to know the day had impact.

I simply set out one computer between two (running KanoOS), talked them all through the startup (type in your name etc.) and then I left them to it.  

I stepped back and did nothing but watch.  I didn’t tell them what to do simply helped if they had a technical issue.

They spent the first hour feverishly going this way and that, soaking in what was on offer and what they could do.  Most appeared to prefer wandering around the simulated world.  They met people and asked them questions, there were quests to do and every now and again some coding to be done.  Most would have done that all day.

Dinner time was a natural break.  After dinner I asked them all to open the EduMinecraft software and follow the instructions the computer gave in the ‘Build a castle’ challenge.  Some got all the way through and built the castle (using code).  Some were slower and only got the first few challenges done – but ALL were totally focussed and loving it.

On top of learning about how to sequence instructions to perform a task (coding), the students were learning how to use a mouse and keyboard, work together in solving problems (a lot of communication needed for that!), overcoming technical problems and showing resilience when tackling new challenges.

The classroom teacher and myself only had to help on a very small number of occaisions.

I heard through older siblings that some had indeed gone home and were talking positively to their parents/carers.  I hope Father Christmas sends them a KanoOS computer and they continue their journey.

Disclaimer: I do not work for Kano or have any links with Kano.  They do not give me money for anything, in fact I give them money as I’ve bought x2 of their computers for my own children.  I just think what they offer is good.