Image citation: https://pixabay.com/en/humanoid-robot-face-1477614/CC0
Coding seemed like a bad word to me. In fact, I put it right up there with trigonometry, statistics, and taxes. I didn’t really know what it meant, to be honest, but I was sure it was bad news. But after exploring the program Sphero, I realized, it’s not so bad. In fact, I think I can do this.
This is the world our students are coming up in. We have to get familiar with things like coding and 3D design; we don’t have a choice. I was able to download Macrolab on my smartphone and play around with coding a bit. After watching the youtube videos, I became less threatened by the whole process. I found that I was able to navigate the app and, although the Sphero is not available to me yet, I could envision being successful with the programming of the robot when the time comes.
The idea of using a 3D program and creating a 3D model to print out was equally as daunting to me before I began. I chose to use Tinkercad, and although it was tricky to manipulate at first, I found myself getting more comfortable with it. I was able to produce a bookmark that contained several different features that I was happy with.
By involving students in programs like the hour of coding and introducing them to programs like Tinkercad and Sketchup, we are giving them access to tools that they will be able to manipulate, probably much more naturally than we can. Students are growing up in a society where new technology is constantly being introduced and they are open to it and embrace it wholeheartedly. I can see students being extremely excited by being introduced to something that they HAVEN’T seen or used before, where we, as adults, tend to be afraid of things we haven’t used before.
Before my own exploration of these tools, I thought that they would only be relevant in tech or math classes, but not now. I can see these programs being used in language arts classes. Students could use these 3D models to create images that represent symbolism in stories they are reading. They could code a robot to tell a story they have written, or to create an alternative ending to something they read. I think it would be prudent to open up classroom discussions to get student input on how they would like to use these tools. I can imagine they would offer up things I hadn’t even thought of.