How to organise coding and gaming activities for social inclusion?

The workshop "How to organise coding and gaming activities for social inclusion?" took place on 10 October during the final event for the Codinc project as part of the ALL DIGITAL Summit 2019. The workshop aimed to show how easy and impactful the Codinc methodology is. Its basic principle is to teach learners in an engaging and fun way coding or other elements of STEM education. Afterwards, the learners then go on to teach their peers how to code using the guidance they received. Codinc is about inclusion, and inclusion is developed by empowering young people to teach their younger peers. This process helps them gain confidence that they can code, and they can even work in STEM education. This can be learning to code with Scratch, programming a game with makey-makey or programming with micro:bit.

At the start of the session, participants were introduced to the sandwich robot exercise. The learners are given sheets of papers with a series of commands on how to prepare a sandwich. Participants select the correct order of the commands, after which these commands would be presented to a “robot” (an e-facilitator) who would follow the commands exactly as they are told, which is not really how participants envisage they would be told. The exercise is a fun icebreaker that also introduces computational thinking.

After the ice-breaking exercise the attendees were divided into three groups: one group learned how to use makey-makey, another micro:bits and the third one Scratch. In 20 minutes, they learned how to complete a simple exercise guided by e-facilitators who implemented the codinc project during the pilot in their own countries.

After the participants completed the first exercise and had the chance to play by learning: the fun began. The groups were split, some people stayed at the exercise they just learned to become the “teacher,” and the other people went to different exercises to learn other activities. This repeated enough times so that all participants experienced being a teacher. The e-facilitators stayed on to help facilitate the teachers learning.

The experience showed how fun the coding for inclusion can be. At the end all participants were given a USB key with the CODINC toolkit and methodology in all languages of the project: French, Dutch, Italian, German, Greek, Spanish and Catalan. So, they can also replicate the Codinc project.

Participants had fun, and while many people were initially reserved and unsure whether they would be able to learn all the exercises, they were quickly put at ease with learning by doing. Participants were so engaged and immersed in the experience, they even lost track of time. It is clear the methodology can work for promoting better cohesion and inclusion in a group; both the study conducted in parallel to the Codinc project and the workshop results support this fact.

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