We might get it around here but we can now say that we get I.T. around here – as in information technology… software development. Thanks to one elective and the help of the students learning to code more quickly than me, I’m increasingly getting IT too.
Elementary schooling isn’t what it used to be. Sure, there are a number of things we do that you would recognize. But, appropriately, our students and teachers are also learning what we couldn’t even conceive of learning in grade school when we were young. And we’re loving it.
A group of grade 7 and 8 students and I are learning how to use the coding language Visual Basic to create our own video game. We have an instructor from Real Programming 4 Kids who is walking us through the steps of creating the necessary bits and bytes of a simple annihilation game. You know those ants that bedevil you at the back door or the cottage? They’re lucky they won’t meet our game AntKill!
I love learning side-by-side with the students. Teens in their element are a sight to behold. They’re helpful, respectful, attentive and persistent. If they’re not listening when they should be, it’s because they’re reading ahead in the notes, eager to build their program. And they’re mighty proud of their growing skills.
Electives fall in the category of Learning for the Love of It, something we directly strive to provide. That means time when students are learning not what the teacher tells them to, not what the Ministry or their parents say they should, and nothing that will be marked. Including clubs and teams of course, student-driven leadership and learning projects, YAKCS and more, it’s learning rooted in student choice and driven by interest and the desire to stare down challenge.
I am learning for the love of it too. And with all the good learning skills that step up when passion is involved, one day I know I’ll join the few in fully getting IT.
Assistant Head, Academics
You can follow Andrea on Twitter @afanjoy.