Full STEAM ahead – the current and future use of technology in the Primary School

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STEAM for En Bref

 

 

The Primary Years Programme focuses on getting your child interested in their own learning by helping them to investigate subjects that they are curious about. Your child is learning how to learn, and how to find out.

So what better way to engage your children than using technology? And in a PYP framework it’s all about moving the child from a consumer of technology to a creator, who makes intelligent and innovative use of these resources.

 

What happens now with technology in Primary?

Deirdre Canavan, the Primary School’s Technology for Learning coordinator, presented to parents at the CPR meeting (her presentation is shared in this week’s primary newsletter 10 November). Currently information and communication technologies are used to support student learning and enrich the curriculum, by enhancing and extending their thinking.

The children use some STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, mathematics) games and are already learning about coding! For example, from Year 2 they learn to code through the use of Purple Mash and then in the later years via Scratch, an open source[1] programming language.

STEAM is perhaps one of the most important trends in games in decades. STEAM games are designed to intertwine fun and learning. Among other things, they introduce students to coding, robotics, electrical circuits and physical motion, as well as help develop understanding of core concepts in science and mathematics …taking thinking from 2D to 3D.

And the future use of technology in Primary?

The plan is to do more STEAM based projects and activities, more coding AND move into maker education – your children become the designers through hands on learning. The school has been actively building resources to do this over the past few years.

Having more STEAM resources and space will allow more project-based learning to:

  • strengthen students’ ability to transfer knowledge and skills to new situations
  • develop collaborative skills as children work together to solve a problem and share ideas
  • teach resilience as solutions will be elusive at times and require an iterative approach
  • increase spatial thinking through 3D building
  • allow children to use their imagination
  • develop problem solving, organisational and computational skills
  • become more responsible digital citizens!

 

The Primary PTA has decided to donate the funds from this year’s Gift Baskets to support this STEAM / maker initiative. We hope to kickstart a STEAM ‘library’ through this year’s online auction of the gift baskets, which ends during the Marché de St.Nicolas.

Want to bring STEAM games into your home?

You can now buy through La Chat’s current supplier (www.thesteamroom.com) and 20% of your payment will go towards the school’s STEAM ‘library’. (Note this is the same model as the Book Fairs hosted by the school.) Just enter the coupon code LACHATP when you checkout. We will also set up a link to The Steam Room through the PTA pages on my.ecolint.ch.

The Steam Room will be demonstrating some of their games at the Marché de St.Nicolas on Sunday 3 December to give you and your children a hands on experience!

Until then, you can learn more about the origin of STEAM games in the following TED talk videos. Although, just a small sample they give a very colourful and inspiring background to how these STEAM resources were invented and how they are revolutionising the way our children play and learn.

Jay Silver, MIT Media Lab and founder of MaKey MaKey – Hack a banana and make a keyboard

Why can’t two slices of pizza be used as a slide clicker? Why shouldn’t you make music with ketchup? In this charming talk, inventor Jay Silver talks about the urge to play with the world around you. He shares some of his messiest inventions, and demos MaKey MaKey, a kit for hacking everyday objects.

 

 

Debbie Sterling, founder of GoldieBlox, engineering toys specially designed for girls.

Close your eyes and picture and engineer. You probably weren’t envisioning Debbie Sterling. Debbie Sterling is an engineer and founder of GoldieBlox, a toy company out to inspire the next generation of female engineers. She has made it her mission in life to tackle the gender gap in science, technology, engineering and math.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FEeTLopLkEo

LittleBits founder, Ayah Bdeir from MIT.

Imagine a set of electronics as easy to play with as Legos. TED Fellow Ayah Bdeir introduces littleBits, a set of simple, interchangeable blocks that make programming as simple and important a part of creativity as snapping blocks together.

 

 

[1]           denoting software for which the original source code is made freely available and may be redistributed and modified

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