Koru News: Term 1 Week 5, with a Focus on Digitech

 Kia ora e te whanau,

We hope everything's going well for you all on the home front. Here we are at the end of Week 5 and we've had another very busy, fun and creative fortnight in the Koru team. 

Here's the link through to our Learning At Home page for those of you who might be needing it.

This week, we're going to have a focus on Digitech in our Blog post! So... first of all, what is Digitech? 

Digitech: is a way of expressing problems and formulating solutions in ways that a computer would, and can be integrated into many areas of the curriculum, including Literacy and Maths (for example, to support the learning of heart words, story telling and sequencing, number recognition and counting, etc.).

Introducing Kate...!

Kate is one of the Ōtautahi Outreach facilitators and is working with us in this area of our learning. Kate was born and raised in Ōtautahi locally, and is actually a Beckenham School old girl (the year of '99!). Her background is in ECE teaching, before she 'fell somewhat head first' into Digital Technologies. She spent 2018-2020 on Kia Takatū ā-Matihiko, the Digital Readiness Programme, and now focuses on creating fun and authentic learning experiences in classrooms. We feel incredibly lucky to have Kate working with the Koru team (both teachers and children). Kate is coming to us once a week on Thursday mornings throughout the first two terms of this year.

What does Digitech look like at the New Entrant level?

Digitech can be:

  • easily interwoven throughout play-based learning 
  • integrated throughout such curriculum areas as Literacy, numeracy, Science and Te Ao Māori
  • used to introduce the children to simple elements and concepts of programming, thereby  demystifying the language and terminology which children will encounter later in their learning
  • SO much fun! Believe it or not, it can include opportunities to explore messy play and can also be used outside in the natural environment 

  • used incredibly successfully to support the social competencies of collaboration, communication, well-being, Turangawaewae and problem solving 

What are some of our areas we have focused on in the first 3 weeks of our Digitech learning in the Koru team?

  • Week 3 (Kidbots): We started by introducing the grid and the characters of the 'robot' and the 'programmer' to the tamariki. You can also add a 'tester' but we played the role of the 'tester' collaboratively on this introductory day. Writing a computer program with Kidbots involved: planning what we wanted to do; coding the instructions; testing our code/programme; and debugging our code/programme.
  • Week 4 (Bluebots and Greedy Cat): This week, the focus was on writing a computer programme, with Greedy Cat as a character. The children had to: plan what they were going to do; revisit the story and go over the sequence of kai that Greedy Cat gobbles up; code the instructions, using simple 'forward' 'backwards' and 'turn' blocks to represent their code blocks; test their code/program (tamariki were encouraged to 'test' the program frequently along the way to ensure there were no 'bugs' - when each programme was tested, children were encouraged to 'read' the programme out loud together); debug their code/program (when obstacles were encountered or the code wasn't correct during testing, children 'debugged' their code and then retested). Computers only output exactly what humans input!
  • Week 5: Bluebots and Scratch Jr: This week, we introduced programming using software and bluetooth connectivity. Tamariki were encouraged to programme through the iPad app to a shape and then test and debug their code. (Scratch Jr is block based code for animations and uses visual code and colours as opposed to text, and only works on an iPad.)
Below are some images of your wee ones, hard at work programming and problem solving, using Bluebots and the Scratch Jr. app on the iPads:

We are incredibly grateful to Kate - her expertise, patience and generosity are second to none! Our heartfelt thanks to you, Kate, for all of the hard work you're putting into working with us all in the Koru team. We appreciate you! 

We do hope you all have a restful and very happy weekend, everyone. We're looking forward to seeing those bright and happy wee faces next week!

Ngā mihi mahana koutou,
Elizabeth, Georgia and Stacey