Text version – Robotics through Coding

Journey summary

Using robotics and coding to develop a systematic approach to the explicit instruction of future-focused competencies, such as communication, collaboration and critical thinking.

Journey focus area

Student achievement in robotics and coding

Timeline and milestones

2012-2014 milestones
  • Classrooms were transformed to create adaptive, flexible learning spaces through the use of furniture and interior design
  • Professional learning on how to best utilise the new spaces.
2015 milestones
  • Approximately 75% of the 35 classrooms were transformed.
  • Future focused pedagogy was embedded in teacher practice, irrespective of room design.
  • Coding and robotics committee formed.
  • Research commenced into the most appropriate hardware/software purchases and professional learning.
  • Resources purchased based on research - drones, Spheros, LittleBits, Lego WeDos and Lego Mindstorms.
  • Teachers provided time to explore new technology.
  • School participated in the Intel Galileo project, with three Stage 3 classes coding a light show using motherboards for submission in the Vivid light festival.
  • STEAM units developed for all stages around scope and sequences.
2016 milestones
  • Ongoing professional learning around the use of the new technology, as well as further “unplugged” strategies
  • Additional content delivery around related websites, software and applications that supports coding and robotics instruction
  • Digital technologies scope and sequence developed creating a sequential whole-of-school approach to the explicit instruction of coding and robotics in line with ACARA documentation
  • Supportive professional learning provided.

2017-18 milestones

  • Collaboration with 28 other local schools as part of the Blacktown Learning Community to roll out a collaborative, supportive network.
  • Professional learning conducted as a refresher for all staff.
  • New teachers completed future focused pedagogy training as part of their induction process.
  • All staff completed Microsoft 21st Century Learning Design training.
  • Coding demonstration lessons and team-teaching opportunities provided by Instructional Leaders.

Positive impact

  • Observed improvement in 21st century competencies; creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and communication
  • Improved academic results in all areas
  • Improved student engagement
  • Greater collaboration of teachers in planning for teaching
  • Greater collegial sharing of resources and more importantly, teaching strategies
  • Better staff relationships and respect for colleagues
  • Improved understanding of the new science syllabus
  • New focus on preparing students for future workplaces

Emotions

  • Challenging, but fun and necessary
  • Supportive/supported
  • Collaborative
  • Exciting

Main challenges and solutions

Challenges:

  • Challenging established pedagogy and structures
  • Resourcing

Solutions:

  • By creating a supportive environment that encouraged teachers to try- and fail- in using the new technology.
  • Providing significant and ongoing professional learning.
  • Providing support structures.
  • Prioritising the project, budgeting and researching carefully to get the best resources to support the initiative.
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