am part of the 21st century!

 

I have been a teacher for the last 23 years, and one of the constants of the job is that you always need to keep learning, and this means you are never the same teacher: New knowledge means new experiences, which in turn become new ways of teaching.

Caja con el kit de 10 microbits.

I am not an engineer. I do not have a background in electronics.

 

However, I enjoy playing, discovering and learning. So I decided to participate in this giveaway promoted by Element 14 where I could receive a micro:bit kit with ten sets. It was a long shot, especially since I had never had the opportunity to try one or see how they worked. Still I wanted to try because I wanted this to be a part of the story, I am telling my students: You need to try, even when you have no idea of the outcome, you have to try.

 

I wanted this kit to start a Maker experience for my students.

 

Since I am writing this post you must have already guessed I was one of the lucky recipients. I am both happy (thrilled actually!) and concerned because now I need to know how to use the micro:bit kits.

 

Since this is my first time using micro:bit I will try to share with you this process, both the students' and mine.

 

Step 0: Find a plastic box to keep each set safe. In my case, I am repurposing some VHS boxes i found at a thrift store, and they work perfectly for my purposes.

 

Step 1: Go to  https://microbit.org/guide/

 

Step 2: Read the quick start guide, the different features the micro:bit has and the projects you can create.

 

Step 3: Choose a programming/coding language. This step is actually kind of important. "Why? you ask", Well in my case I teach computer science and programming to K-6 students using Code.org, which means that my students are already acquainted with the blockly type of programming, so I decided to start with the JavaScript Blocks Editor.

 

Step 3.1 Choose the best platform. I almost forgot to mention that in my school the computers do not have either Windows or Mac programs installed, instead they are Linux based. So this step is important because the mico:bits do not have a lot of memory, so you will need to install each program you create, every time you need it. To do that I have chosen Chrome, since you can code it through the browser. I must admit this is the step that took me the longest to grasp.

 

Step 4: Start coding! I started experimenting with the basics: I chose the JavaScript Blocks and I wrote my name and created a picture (a heart of course!). I also decided to share this experience with my six-year-old daughter, Sophia. She went through the same basic steps I did, and she was very happy with the results and now she wants to do more.

 

Step 5: Go further! I decided I was ready to tackle a bigger challenge, so I went for the "Rock, Paper, Scissors" activity. It was not easy, it was repetitive and a longer activity than the previous programs, however I was elated when I finished it and I started playing with my daughter.

 

Step 6: Dare to let the students learn! This is exactly where I am at. I have chosen a sixth grade group to start running this micro:bit experience and I will let you know how it went in my next blog.

 

So, these are my basic steps. This was my experience with the micro:bit (so far) and I must say it was far easier and entertaining than I thought. I am very happy I decided to take a chance and participate in the giveaway; however, I am happier to be a part of this community which helps me promote this type of learning experience with my students.