Fabrice, you are teaching one hour of coding every week in grades 1st through 5th. What are your goals when you are in the classroom?
Questioning and investigating are at the heart of our time together. I want to inspire the children into deep and critical thinking as well as creativity. In each class, we have a problem to solve. Our problems are connected to other areas. For example, when we read the story of The Hare and the Turtle from Jean de la Fontaine, we transferred it into a race between beebots. First graders had to prepare the robots while following the story’s components.
In 1st grade, the class mascot “Supercat” is meeting with its cousin, Scratch, on an Ipad.
Another example: when we learn about our community and neighborhood, we are programming our probots to travel arounds the streets we have recreated. And there are so many more examples.
I want also the students to understand that coding is not just technology but is a language. When you place the characters or push the buttons of a beebot in a certain order, it moves forward. It is like building a sentence. When the noun, the pronoun and the verb are in the right places it makes sense but if you place them all over the place it does not make sense.
Do you think we should develop more coding in our schools?
Yes, it is not just a way to work with computers it is a way of thinking. I am happy that the French government has included coding in its national curriculum because it is key for the future.
Think of a class combining math topics and robots! I can promise you full engagement from the students. Imagine a math workshop where students are working in groups to solve problems. For example, they have been collecting data and are using the robots to draw the desired graphs! Not only our students are learning to work collaboratively but are exploring different options and are entitled to make mistakes until they find the most efficient way. What a great teaching philosophy!
Recently, our students have participated in the hour of code. What is it?
Twice a year, there is an international competition with more than 800 million of students participating. It is the biggest educational contest around the world. 4th & 5th graders had a lot of fun to build a new galaxy in just an hour.
When did your excitement about coding started?
At a very young age! However, my mom, who is a teacher, had set the rules and I had to justify every time I was spending on the computer. I had then to search many ways to use it. I kept this interest in technology all along. I volunteered to be class pilot with the first interactive boards or the first ipads. I continued to search the best ways to teach in class whether it was with a tablet or a pen! I am happy to ignite the spark of investigation in our students.
Thank you, Fabrice. We can’t wait to see our children speaking coding in our classes.