It’s already a cliche that we are living in uncertain times. The situation regarding COVID-19 is constantly changing. More and more people are being asked to work from home and many teachers and schools are moving to online learning.
Here at Grok Learning, we are incredibly passionate about computer science education, and it is our goal to help as many students as possible learn to code. We strongly believe coding is a skill of the future and having strong computational literacy skills will set a student up for success in any field.
With many schools moving to online learning, we want to do anything we can to help minimise the disruption to students’ learning. To that end Grok Learning and our partner, the Australian Computing Academy, are giving students free access to:
- Grok’s courses and competitions;
- ACA’s DT Challenges (extended from Years 3–8); and
- ACA’s Cyber Security Challenge 1 (extended from Years 7–12).
The free access is available from now until Sunday 5 July 2020 (Australian Term 2), and includes Web.Comp (starting 11 May).
We hope this will help teachers to continue to teach their students with confidence.
Here are our top tips for delivering remote lessons with Grok Learning
1. Allow for students to move at different paces
We know that every student is different, and your students will work at different paces. It’s a good idea to have a plan for differentiated lessons, where students can work to the level of their own ability. This is especially true in an online learning scenario where students are more likely to be working on their own or at different times.
For students who move faster, have extension work available. In Grok, a great option is to use our Hour of Code courses. These are short themed courses, designed to be a bit of fun! Students can draw snowflakes; write a chatbot; or program a virtual pet; as well as many more.
For students who struggle to keep up, plan lessons with differentiated levels. In Grok you can use the paired Blockly and Python courses. These courses cover the same content, but students can choose whether to work in Python (text programming) or Blockly (visual programming). The Blockly visual programming editor allows students to learn the same coding concepts but provides more scaffolding and syntax help.
The same content available in both Blockly and Python.
Courses which are available in both Blockly and Python include:
- The ACA’s DT Challenge Chatbot — Blockly and Python
- The ACA’s DT Mini Challenge Satellite — Blockly and Python
- The ACA’s DT Challenge Smart Garden — Blockly and Python
- The ACA’s DT Challenge Sport + micro:bit — Blockly and Python
1. Use Projects
Using projects is a great way to let students really sink their teeth into coding. They give students a chance to try something new or expand on a previous activity. When learning remotely, projects are a fantastic opportunity to let students engage to the level that they can manage.
In Grok, you can use our Playgrounds for student projects. Playgrounds are just empty coding spaces with no guidelines or requirements. So students can create and run code to their hearts’ content. You can assign an idea, or let them design their own. Have a look at our blog post 5 Pitch Perfect Ideas for some inspiration.
Playgrounds are blank workspaces for your students to build their own coding creation!
Since we don’t know what your students are trying to create, our automated marker can’t mark these Playgrounds (we’re not that magic…yet!). But if it’s an assessment task that needs marking, you can have a look at their finished code and mark it yourself.
1. Monitor your students’ progress remotely
When teaching remotely, it’s harder to see how your students are progressing with their work. Whatever systems you are using, you’ll want to ensure you have a way to check in on how your students are going. You can have them submit work to you, or use a system that monitors directly. In Grok, the Teacher Dashboard provides a handy summary of all your students’ work, so you can see at a glance how your class is progressing.
- Select a group from the Teacher Dashboard.
- Click the button “Assigned Progress” to see student progress in all assigned courses.
- OR Use the drop-down menu under the “Course Progress” button to select a specific course and view progress.
Sort your students based on their progress to see how they are progressing.
Each problem that the student is working on is highlighted in a colour. If you hover over the progress bars, you can see which problems have progress. Different colours represent different states of completion for a given question:
- Green = nailed it! The student has solved this problem correctly;
- Orange= not yet! The student has attempted but not solved the problem;
- White = no progress. The student has not attempted this problem;
- In some cases you might see a blue box — this is a special case where the student has solved the problem correctly but it was after the competition deadline.
>>>More info on Viewing Student Progress
We hope these tips will help set you up for teaching Digital Technologies remotely. If you have any questions or want help with getting started please send us an email firstname.lastname@example.org, we will be more than happy to chat.