OCT OEEO

PS_June_2021

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41 TECH CLASS June 2021 Professionally Speaking High School Students Create Coding Journals A teacher in North Bay, Ont., has students develop presentation skills and hone their ability to reflect. BY STEFAN DUBOWSKI Brent Yacoback, OCT, leads a coding class with Grade 9 students in the same cohort. THE CHALLENGE Help students remember what they're learning in an important computer-coding class. THE SOLUTION Have them develop coding journals to record their education journey. LESSONS LEARNED Brent Yacoback, OCT, wanted to help his Grade 9 students solidify what they were learning in Information and Communi- cation Technology in Business (BTT). It's an introductory business course, but at West Ferris Intermediate & Secondary School in North Bay — where Yacoback co-ordinates the Science Technology Engineering Arts and Math (STEAM) program — BTT is foundational: this is where students learn the computer-coding systems and software they'll need over the following two years in the program. "[The students needed to have a] meaningful project at the end to consolidate the learning we've done in terms of coding," Yacoback explains. "And not just the coding aspect, but also all the other things they've learned to do with technology," like how to use Keynote, GarageBand, and other software taught in BTT. Yacoback is an Apple Distinguished Educator, well-versed in using Apple products in class. During a recent meeting with other Apple educators, he was asked to reflect on his learning using a journal. Yacoback brought that idea into the classroom and decided to have his students do the same to reflect on their coding education in BTT. While they were learning coding basics with Spheros robots and Swift Playgrounds, Yacoback's Grade 9s were keeping journals in Keynote. Along the way, they learned not only how to code, but also how to create compelling presentations. The Keynote projects had to incorporate videos of their Spheros and Swift Playgrounds projects, explanations of their work and even music, which the students would create in GarageBand. OBSERVATIONS Yacoback thinks the journaling project has helped fortify YOU CAN DO IT TOO! 1) Have students record videos of their coding projects. 2) Teach them to use Keynote presentation soware and GarageBand music-making soware. 3) Have them create journals about their coding projects using videos, text and music. 4) Use the resource 30 Days of Code (oct-oeeo.ca/code), which Yacoback co-created with fellow Apple Distinguished Educators. PHOTO: MICHEL CHENIER The College's professional advisory Use of Electronic Communication and Social Media — Updated (oct-oeeo.ca/ecomm) guides members' professional judgment in the use of technology. students' software skills, and it sum- marizes their coding-learning journey. But he also saw it helped in other unexpected ways. One student in particular went above and beyond by not only recording his projects in the journal, but also adding commentary on what was challenging, what went well and how he felt. Yacoback says those reflections were a powerful addition, so now he asks all students to do the same. "Whenever I do a project like this, it reinforces my belief that just because I'm the teacher doesn't mean I know everything," he says. "Every year, I learn new things." This year it was the reflection component in the journal. Yacoback's advice for other teachers who may want to incorporate coding and journaling into their classes is be willing to take risks. Before working with Spheros and Swift Playgrounds, he had little experience with either, but he built his expertise over time. PS

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