Visit 2 to Upper Grand DSB – 2016

UGDSBWhat can I say? I got to play again! I am really liking the push to use robotics and coding in the classroom to engage students in learning and enhancing their skills.  My visit to Upper Grand DSB started with a beautiful drive to Fergus Ontario where about 20 teacher and teacher librarians met for their final LC Project session. Their project has a focus on coding collaboration in the Learning Commons. To read more, have a look at their project page: or watch their first LC video:

ChallangeThe morning was our “play” time! The group was sent on a “breakout challenge” quest consisting of three parts with clues and tasks to complete, which then unlocked the final and fourth challenge.

Challenge 1 We-Do’s:IMG_2743
You have a virtual key living in your WeDo sensor, but you have to figure out a way for your WeDo robot to protect rouge sprites from easily getting to it.
Challenge 2 Empathy Toy:
Play Empathy game with a builder, guide and observer.  Observer needs to document on the 6 C’s that the builder/guide use during the task.
Challenge 3 EV3’s:
Your EV3 also has a key that can stay protected if the Sound of Music can keep creativity thieves away.
For each completed challenge the team received part of a Google short code (xcq, https://goog.le and UYg  ) that needed to be put in order and entered to go to the final challenge – very coolIMG_2730!
The final challenge: For each one of the 6 C’s, write a couple of bullet points describing how your work has or could be connected. They then shared their thoughts in the UGDSB Collaboration Google Community.
Awesome problem solving, collaboration, sharing and learning!
In the afternoon, the group spent some time sharing the work and learning they have done in their schools. The sharing included:
  • Hosted a math night during education week and set up a lego station with coding.  Parents were as excited as the students to come, build and code.
  • Grade 7’s created screen casts on how to set up the WeDo’s for the younger grade students.
  • When coding was a club, the names of the clubs were like “geek squad”, “the nerds”… very stereotyping.  Once everyone started coding, the labels stopped.  It will be interesting to see who gets involved with robotics challenges in the future.
  • Teacher mindset changed: first they thought to only show different tools in coding with a progressive approach, that there is a certain order to introduce new tools; now the teacher will just pop in a few new tools as it comes up.
  • The group discussed a lot about process of learning, not just the end product!IMG_2756
  • Found that students were really starting to support each other and not having to turn to teacher for answers.
  • Using a blog for students to post what they did or learned that day and what will they try the next time.  Found that this led to students helping and answering their peer’s questions.
  • One teacher found an article on how robots have to go through the Japanese nuclear disaster and find fuel rods, but no robots returned from their mission due to the heat.  They modelled a classroom challenge around this.   Students discussed how difficult it would be for a robot to navigate an unknown building

 After the sharing, there was discussion on where they have come from and where they might go for next steps.  They did a little exercise on: the 4 storeys of teacher confidence in the use of technology using this graphic.

Their next steps:  to show that robotics and coding is not just a sci-tech thing, but can be used for all parts of the curriculum.
After the session, I went for a walk in downtown Fergus…beautiful 🙂 Zoom in on the Brew House pic to see a bi-plane flying over on the right side of the building.  Wish I had a zoom lens and not just my phone.
IMG_1939 IMG_1936

Visit 2 to Trillium Lakelands DSB

TLDSB-GoodIt is always fun to visit the team in Trillium Lakelands DSB.  Not only are the people great, but we get to code and have fun! Their project has been focussed on coding in the Junior classroom and some of the outcomes from the teachers work with students were surprising. You can read more about their project on their LC Project Page or watch the video below:

We started the day on the move with someScratch movement “Algorithm Action”!  Slides were shown on the screen with Scratch coding that the participants had to act out while following the sequence of coding.  Have a look here for some pre-made Smart Notebook examples.  Can you imagine combining coding with DPA? I can now!

The group then embarked on some creative coding with a 10 block challenge: we were provided 10 blocks of code; we had to use every block at least once (but could be more than once) to create a project. That was it, no more instructions, just the 10 blocks and go!  Not so easy, but some of the results were incredibly creative – not mine… Check out the “studio”:  It is awesome IMG_2669to have the opportunity in a safe environment to experience activities that the teachers can do with their students the next day.

We then had some time to work on Scratch Junior on iPads.  A great way to introduce coding that requires very little or no instruction. Have a look at some of the resources for Scratch Jr. (look under the “teach” tab) at

In the afternoon, some of the teachers shared their learning with the group.

Grade 1/2 teacher
  • wide range of students – some good with computers and some are special needs (non-verbal)
  • to introduce coding, the teacher pretended he was a robot and students had to direct him around a box
  • students learned that the instructions for directions had to be very specific
  • the teacher tied this to procedural writing
  • then students used Dash and Dot in the classroom and learned how to move Dash – they did this very well!
  • teacher found that lower academic students were more successful because they were used to trial and error.  Gifted students felt that they knew the answer and weren’t used to failure
  • teacher also created a game with Scratch and Makey Makey: Site words were displayed on the screen with colour coded boxes, there were signs on the floor with the same colours, game says the word and student has to hit the appropriate colour on the floor. Lots of movement and energy to learn the words and hit appropriate signs.
Grade 4 teacher
  • had a surprising result of students learning coding language
  • the teacher has been able to use scratch coding language to help students empathize when misunderstandings happened between one and other
  • he got students to understand situations through the language of coding (if…then statements, repeat, goto…)
Grade 5/6 teacher
  • used the challenges that were produced by the district team
  • started with students working at their own pace, but that didn’t work for IMG_2668everyone
  • went to the method that they played part of video in front of whole class, teacher did code with the students and if any students finished the step, they would help others in the class and become the experts
  • the class working together on each step meant that someone has a solution at any time

IMG_1821As always, a great day of learning in TLDSB!  Thank you for including me.  Walking through the halls at the board office, I noticed this drawing by a student.  How cool is this pencil motorcycle?


Visit 2 to York Region DSB

YRDSBNot far from home for this one, but so excited to visit York Region DSB to learn about their Modern Learning initiative for their Learning Connections project.  Have a look at the video from the first visit:

YRDSB from abelearn on Vimeo.

Their project involves 4 junior and intermediate special education resource teachers (SERT’s) who have been involved in YRDSB’s Modern Learning initiative.  This was a day of sharing and preparing for the LC face-to-face meeting.  Here are some examples of the sharing.

Promoting growth mindset:

  • Encourage an inquiry learning stance for both staff and students
  • Incorporate the elements of the instructional core into their planning (i.e., role of teacher, the students and the content)
  • IMG_2633Provide, through PLCs and release days, the opportunity to delve deeper into aspects of Modern Learning (the learning, the learner and the environment) and build capacity among staff
  • Provide opportunities to work as grade partners to create authenticlearning experiences that meet the needs of all learners enabled by technology
  • Embed our new learning into our classroom practice
Modern Learning Start-up Inquiry – through the lens of mental health for staff and the needs of the staff:
  • Goal was to bring the staff together and start new since they have been doing the same thing for a long time
  • Create a staff site using Google Sites to keep everyone up to date with school information
  • Used a Google Site to organize all the school information that they were housing in a Google Drive – easier to find stuff on the Site!
  • It has been a slow transition – the hopes and dreams are that teachers will use this and school will go paperless
  • Includes interactive calendars for school, gym, library

Special education students createIMG_2634 self advocacy cards:

  • Special education students create their own cards that includes a column with their needs and one with their required support
  • This was the first time some of these students even saw their IEP’s (used to help create their advocacy cards)
  • Some discussion that every student would benefit from having a self advocacy card – believed it would level the playing field

IMG_1889In the afternoon, the team started to plan their pitch and presentation for the LC face-to-face.  What a fun and creative team! They work so well together.

Check out the YRDSB LC project page and learn more about their work.



Visit 2 to Kawartha Pine Ridge DSB – 2016

KPRDSBMy second visit to Kawartha Pine Ridge DSB happened a couple of weeks ago in Bowmanville.  It was great to hear what the teachers were able to accomplish in their Learning Connections project and how they were engaging their students in deeper, more relevant research to improve student skills in this area.  You can read more about their project on their LC Project Page and have a look at their video:

KPRDSB from abelearn on Vimeo.

The morning was spent with each teacher librarian sharing their personal inquiry, the activities they did with their students leading to their big learning.  Here are some examples:

If I teach students to effectively, efficiently search for and identify appropriate website,using advance search, then students will be able to use their time and resources more efficiently in order to become more competent, confident digital literate learners.

Activity: After teaching what IMG_2572makes an effective website and how to evaluate a website the teacher gave the students a list of fake websites to evaluate and determine their validity based on the premise that they would have to do research on that topic.

Result: All students from grades 3-6 thought the sites were real!

Big learning: Have to start early in the year to teach students how to evaluate websites.

If I focus on questioning related to the topic, then the students will gather relevant information.

Activity:  Students in Kindergarten used Pebble Go to research questions of interest for science and technology.  The teacher found it was challenging to keep the students focussed on their questions as they got distracted in their exploration of Pebble Go.  On the up side, students who were not IMG_2573readers, yet could use the reading option in the app to have it read to them.

Big learning: Students were more successful than teacher thought they would be even if they couldn’t read.  Realized that they have to start earlier and have student do more research in Pebble.  Also, would be good to have students create a play or story board of what they learned to help consolidate their learning.

If I teach intermediate students how to collect and organize reliable information they can access from anywhere, then they will experience less frustration and greater success completing research projects.

Activity: Using technology to support student research, the teacher created a team of 3 students who became experts on the tools.  The “tech team” met a week before the tool was introduced to the class to learn ahead of time and then be abel to support their peers.  The benefit of this was that these students had extra time to learn the tool and the teacher was not the only support in the classroom.  It was also a great leadership experience for these students.

Big learning: The teacher recognized that she had to front load the skills for the students.  It was important to focus on giving them the skills to be successful before working on the content.

IMG_2601In the afternoon, we had a chance to experience the coding and robotics initiative taking place in one of the libraries.  Using Arduino, students code to create different projects with the kits.  The book that comes with the Arduino kits is a great place to start challenging your students.  So fun to play and learn how the students learn.  Although I find the pieces in the Arduino kits a little too small to work with – it is really great to consolidate concepts of circuits along with the other skills gained from coding.

What a great day of learning with a great team!  Thanks for including me in your day 🙂



Learning Connections Spring Face-to-Face

Highlight Video:

It has been a long time, but finally we had everyone together for a face-to-face session.  Learning Connections is strong, the sharing is awesome and the connections that happen are amazing when we spend a day in one room.  Representation from all 15 projects came together at York University last week – woohoo!

2015-16 LC PPT with district images1

IMG_1832The fun started Tuesday night with a dinner for those travelling from afar. With lots of great conversation and yummy food, we got to know each other better and started to plan and get excited about the sharing of projects the next day.


Wednesday morning arrived and so did everyone else to York University. The day started with an “ice-breaker”/learning activity by FullSizeRender 3Twenty One Toys.  Ryan lead us through two activities that made us all think deeper about how we communicate and collaborate with others.  Discussions followed on how these activities could improve empathy, communication, collaboration and many more skills for our students.

Some feedback for this session:

“I loved the 21 Toys activity and I was excited to envision that it related to the spatial reasoning skill building that is part of my LC project. I could definitely see exploring this in our participating schools and certainly with our LC Champions.”

The main goal of the Spring Face-to-Face is to have districts share their LC projects and allow for discussions and collaborations.  This year was a little differently by taking a “Dragons Den” approach. During 3 different rounds, 5 projects gave a 2-minute pitch to the whole room followed by 30 minutes of discussion time when everyone could IMG_1889float around to visit any projects of interest to ask further questions.  Although some were very stressed about their pitches and I had to pull a few teams off the stage at the 2-minute mark (sorry about that), it was a very engaging and fun way to have the group share.  Way to go team in embracing this challenge.

“I loved the pitch idea. I think we could have been more creative but, it worked! I liked the fact that you allowed us to visit with groups as we saw the relevancy to our own projects and schools. It was interesting to see what all the other boards are doing and where they are at. Thank you so much for a wonderful opportunity to network and share!”

Right after lunch and before our FullSizeRender 4third sharing round, we had Diane Stang share her insights on Spatial Reasoning Across the Curriculum and Grades.  Diane is amazing and very knowledgable on this topic and I always find that I learn so much from her! One of the best facilitators I know 🙂  As for what others thought:

“Very relevant and informative! I really enjoyed this session as well. I learned a lot about how to incorporate spatial reasoning into various curricular areas, as well as WHY I should.”

“My fav session of the day. Great learning. Engaging and knowledgable presenter.”

At the end of the day, I left the group with a challenge.  I took risks all day with the types of learning sessions and a new format for sharing, it was their turn to take something from the day and try something new. This is what some of them answered when I asked them to describe one thing from the day that has inspired them to try something new:

“I have come back with energy and enthusiasm to push an inquiry based education in my class and school. I have already talked to my principal about building a maker-space and am looking for funding to incorporate new technologies into my class.”

“Definitely taking the experiences of the Empathy Toy, I learned that technology doesn’t always have to be the flashiest piece of equipment and that innovation is about taking something and using it to leverage existing practices and to connect with others.”

“Hands-on activities with spatial reasoning and blocks.”

I am so fortunate to work with such a great group of educators and so much fun!  Here’s wishing everyone a great rest of the school year.  I will be catching up on my LC visit blogs soon (I am only behind by 3, which will be 4 after tomorrow).

On a final note, here is a slide show of the event:


Visit to Ottawa Catholic SB – 2016

OCSB NEWLast week I flew out to Ottawa Catholic SB to join their team for their Learning Connections Fair.  What an awesome day with an amazing group of educators.  The team in OCSB has been able to build capacity with the support of a core team of educators who provide the facilitation for the sessions.  They are aligning their work with New Pedagogies for DeepLearning where inquiries focus on the 6 C’s and the 4 elements of task design.  Their overall inquiry is:

How do we support our students in becoming compassionate Global citizens who are life-long creative, collaborative problem solvers in an increasingly complex and connected world?

The agenda for the day was simple, but very effective for the approximately 80 educators who were present.  In the morning, teachers FullSizeRendercould choose 2 different breakout sessions to attend and in the afternoon they could attend 2 different panel sessions.  All the sessions were hands-on and lead by teachers in the classroom.  The focus was to have teachers experience different tools by playing and hearing how other teacher use them in their classrooms so they were better prepared to use them with their students.

Some of the sessions that I had the opportunity to visit in the morning included:

Exploring the world of coding and robotics with Dash and Dot!IMG_2491

  • Presenters shared the different applications they used with Dash and Dot in their classrooms including: Blockly, Go, Xylo, Path, Wonder
  • We then got to play with a variety of stations includingIMG_2494 Dash Bowling, Xylo and using Dash to explore a floor map of the world
  • So much fun and very engaging for students and teachers!


Getting Google with it! Engaging students with creative technology

  • Teachers had a chance to explore the different apps in Google Apps for Education with a focus on Google DrawingIMG_2499
  • We learned how to create a Google Drawing and how to edit and add pictures
  • What a great way to create electronic posters for students to demonstrate their understanding
Discovering Me, Discovering You!
  • The board uses Hapara to manage Google Apps for Education 
  • Each student has a “Discover Me” site that they can use for an e-portfolio every year and teachers can access the sites through Hapara
  • Great excitement in the room as the teachers discovered how easy it was to edit and manage their own Discover Me site – they couldn’t wait to get back to their classrooms to start e-portfolios with their students.
QR Codes = Endless Possibilities
  • Presenters shared many ways to use QR Codes with students
  • For example: Created a cube with different QR codes on each side.  Students read a story in a group and then roll the die to a QR that has a question they have to respond to. 

The afternoon continued with more hands on learning during the panels! The panels in the afternoon were not just discussion time, but all of them had an element of “play” and experiencing the tools.

IMG_2462This was a great and energetic day for everyone and teachers walked away with many new things they could try in their classroom right away.  And to top off the day – DOOR PRIZES with a unique way to tweet out the winners and promote using their #LCocsb hashtag.

Tired for the flight home on lateIMG_5504 Friday evening, I decided to take a different plane 😉  Thanks for a wonderful time in Ottawa!


Visit 2 to Limestone DSB – 2016

LDSBFor the second part of my road trip, I stopped to visit Limestone DSB.  Their Learning Connections project involves 3 different hubs across their district.  During my first visit I went to the hub just north of Napanee, but last week I was invited to a school in Kingston to co-plan, co-teach and co-debrief with Rudy and his team.

Three grade 7/8 teachers are working together in this hub from two different schools.  Their focus is to use Google Slides in the classroom for students to become familiar with this platform, to present their understanding, to collaborate with their classmates and to provide feedback for each other.

This was a follow-up lesson for IMG_2436the students to provide feedback for their peers on a slide deck they prepared researching two different perspectives about Rupert’s land (grade 7’s had a different topic). The groups of students were partnered with an other group who researched a different perspective.  After sharing their slides, the lesson was divided into three parts:

  • review the other group’s slides for format and provide feedback
  • review the other group’s content and provide feedback and a “wonder”
  • reflect on the learning and merge new ideas learned from viewing the other group’s slides to create a consolidation slide in their original presentation

It was great to see how effectively the students could share their work and stay focussed on providing the appropriate feedback.

Some of the ideas discussed with the teachers during the debrief included:

  • Not enough content in the slides for the students to learn about the other perspective and consolidate the information to form an opinion.
  • Step three was difficult and could have been delayed so students could resolve the feedback comments first.  Also, maybe the teacher could do a IMG_2439consolidation lesson before the reflection piece.
  • Having 5 students work at one computer is too many – two students would be ideal, but three students could work fairly well.
  • Could have some students use their phone to view slides instead of all 5 looking over at one screen.
  • It was good to divide up how they gave feedback: first comment on format – give 10 minutes to do this task; then feedback on content – give 10 minutes for this.
  • 5 modified students in the class were grouped together, which meant they were often off task. They were also challenged to give feedback to the other group regarding content, but they were good at providing feedback on format.  Maybe these students should have been divided into the two groups that shared with each other.
I really liked the “ah ha” moment the teacher had after the lesson. Previously lessons were structured as the teacher providing all the content and then the students would retell the information.  This new way for the teacher meant that the students learned the content through research, shared their learning and then the teacher could consolidate the learning. This teacher would have never tried this new way of teaching the lesson without the co-planning team through LC.
Check out the LDSB LC project page and the video from the first visit:

LDSB from abelearn on Vimeo.

On the drive home from Kingston, my timing was perfect to stop at the EnRoute in Trenton to join in our ABEL Math Online Professional Learning.  Although the wifi wasn’t great and I couldn’t stay on the video conference for long, it was fun to connect with everyone while on the road!

IMG_4572  IMG_4571

Visit 2 to Catholic DSB of Eastern Ontario – 2016

CDSBEOLast week I had the great opportunity to visit two districts for the second time: Catholic DSB of Eastern Ontario and Limestone DSB during a whirl wind road trip.  Stay tuned for the next post for LDSB 😉

CDSBEO is in the process of building capacity for their Learning Connections work throughout the district.  For the first half of their project they were piloting a model for professional IMG_2361learning in one of their schools which you can read about in my first post.  The day I visited last week was a similar session for a new school that they were introducing to LC.  6 teachers were present from grades 7-12 in a range of subject expertise.

The goals for the day were:

  • create a team of experts in the school and this team becomes the support for the school
  • set up a OneNote Classroom for one of their classes

And their motto for the day was: LEARN, TRY, SHARE!

Time was spent on: introducing the ICT vision of the board, getting started with Office 365, collaborating and sharing in a group Power Point, introducing OneNote and OneNote Classroom along with learning about Yammer.  Most of the day was spent learning how to use the tools, but there were many discussions about application and how they IMG_2390could change what they are doing in the classroom.  They all left with the goal to try one thing back with their classes and have been provided the tools to try more as they gain confidence using Office 365.

Some of the feedback from the group about using Office 365 included:

  • Plan on creating a comprehensive class space in OneNote Classroom
  • Introduce Yammer for Twelfth Night culminating task and use it as a chat forum for Literacy Circles
  • Integrate formative feedback into Yammer
  • Save all my resources in OneDrive to use them in OneNote Classroom

Check out their LC project page and the video of their goals:

CDSBEO from abelearn on Vimeo.

This was a great road trip!  IMG_4511Starting with a visit with Crystal in Brockville
where we went for a beautiful walk on the waterfront followed by a fun dinner.  The afternoon in Cornwall after the session lead to a chilly run by the water followed by the best dinner at Eight Zero IMG_4556Zero (a must place to eat!)  I can’t forget to post the strange pic of the Telsa parking area at the hotel – there were 6 of these charging stations.

On to Kingston the next day …

Visit to Hastings and Prince Edward DSB – 2016

HPEDSBLast, but not least, I made it out to Belleville to visit Hastings and Prince Edward DSB.  What fun I had with Wendy and Heather visiting two schools that are involved with their Learning Connections Project. The district has been heavily invested in leveraging Google Apps for Education to improve student achievement and engagement.  They are also part of the global New Pedagogies for Deep Learning (NPDL) project and have combined their LC work to support this initiative.  One focus of their project involves the exploration of Google’s Read & Write application to determine its impact on student writing. This also aligns with a pilot in their board regarding the use of Read & Write to support students for EQAO.

The first classroom we visited is part of the NPDL project and they are focussing on the learning dimension “leveraging digital” along with the focus on “collaboration” from the 6 C’s.  Through Learning Connections, this classroom was able to purchase Chromebooks to support their deeper learning.  The activity they were working on involved reading a story and determining the main IMG_2337idea.  The teacher used Google Classroom to share electronic versions of the stories and for students to submit their work.  It was interesting to see how the students embraced the ability to choose the way they wanted to read the stories: some read on the computer, some used Read & Write to listen to the story and some printed the story to read. This truly levels the playing field for all students in the classroom!

At the second school the teacher was introducing a new topic on
Canada’s Major Trading partners – who do we trade with? what are the exports/ imports? … Students worked in groups to do the initial research and shared ideas in Google Doc.   They were using tools in Read & Write not only to read the text, but to also highlight text on IMG_2353website and add the information to the Google Doc with the reference.  Nice to see how the students were able to collaborate using the technology and really help each other with their learning.
Some of the positive comments I heard through the day:
  • Great to have the Chromebooks available for students at any time and not having to schedule computer time
  • Students have learned to work collaboratively since only a few Chromebooks in the class
  • Using Read & Write has helped all students and doesn’t stigmatize those who need the technology to support them
  • Read & Write is much easier to use for students than Dragon and it is accessible for all

Thanks for a great day!  My drive back from the FullSizeRender 2school in Prince Edward County lead me on a beautiful route next to Lake Ontario.  Although Wendy warned me to stay right at the Macs, I forgot as soon as I got there and went to the left.  Never warn someone which way they should not go 😉 Turned out to be an awesome drive with some beautiful views.



Visit to Rainbow DSB – 2016

RDSBLast week I made the trip to Sudbury to spend the day with Rainbow DSB and their Learning Connections team.  Their project this year is focussed on using robotics to support the mathematical processes in the intermediate classroom.  There are 9 teachers (grades 6-8) from 3 different schools who are involved in the project along with Dave, a secondary teacher in RDSB, who will be facilitating the training and provide support.  Each school received 9 Lego EV3s through CODE funding.  The inquiry question for RDSB is:

How can the use of robotics kits support mathematical processes through open ended problem solving learning opportunities?

This was the first time IMG_2258the group came together with a plan to meet two more times. The day was very relaxed with the best agenda: introductions and project description, getting started with LEGO Mindstorms, break, more lego, lunch, even more lego, break, so much more lego!  To be honest, I don’t think I even noticed the breaks as the group was so engaged in learning how to code and make the robots move as intended in the programs created.

During the introduction, Dave passed around a usb stick so everyone could load the Mindstorm program and the EV3 firmware update on their computer to be ready to code and update the bricks (brains of the robots) later in the day. Very efficient!

When the teachers were asked where they are in using robotics or how they plan to use robotics and coding, their responses were varied, but most didn’t have experience and were ready to start:

  • their school just received some money to create a maker space and they want to include roboticsIMG_2297
  • similarly with another teacher who is getting started with a maker space
  • a couple knew nothing about coding or robotics and want to learn to bring it into their classroom
  • one school has done Hour of Code for a couple of years, but now want to delve deeper into coding/robotics

Michele then shared the goals of their LC project and had the group start thinking about the Mathematical Processes Expectations. Throughout the day, teachers were asked to think about how coding and robotics link to the curriculum and the mathematical processes. It was also clearly articulated what students and teachers will KNOW and DO during the project.

Students will KNOW and DO:IMG_2286

  • Develop, select, apply and compare a variety of strategies to solve problems
  • Communicate mathematical thinking orally, visually, and in writing
  • Reflect and monitor their thinking
  • Code

Teachers will KNOW and DO:

  • Share explicit instructional strategies for mathematical process skills
  • Co-construction of success criteria for process skills used in coding and robotics
  • Transferability of skills 
  • Sharing in PLC

RileySome resources were shared as well before we started to build:

Now for the fun – grab your box and open.  It took the group a while to unpack and organize their boxes and Dave gave some advice on how to organize.  Then it was time: build Riley Rover!  Yes, I got to build one as well and learn how to program him. Loved it 🙂

After everyone had their Riley built, it was challenge time.  We had two challenges: have Riley start at a certain location and move around a box on the floor; then teachers were to build their own maze for Riley to move through.IMG_2301 Dave was great at providing the right balance of group instruction and individual assistance.  He made it very easy to go straight to the Mindstorm program and start coding for Riley.  He also gave classroom advice on how to deal with the Lego in the classroom, how students approached similar challenges and ideas for challenges.  As well, he provided the group with resources for other robot builds.

This was an awesome day and I really feel that the teachers have a great start to learning about coding and using robotics.  Since some of the teachers have never done coding, it was very important to get them comfortable using the coding program and assembling a robot.  At the end of the day, they may not been ready to bring the robots into their class after leaving the session, but they were certainly ready for next steps.  The group plans to meet mid April again where they will learn more about coding the EV3s and how they can integrate them into their classrooms by aligning activities with the mathematical processes.  It will be interesting to see how they have progressed between the two meetings. They also all connected in a Google Community to share their learning and resources.

This was such an awesome dayIMG_2289 – thanks Michele and Heather for including me in your learning!  I think this is the first time that my fun pic is related to the day of learning and not something that happened during my travels.  This is a pic of my part way built Riley.