Coding in South Africa Johannesburg

On Friday morning 1e of March I started off at the Future Nation School in Fleurhof. A very big new and modern school in Fleurhof and when I came walking up the classroom with all my bags, Xoliswa Zinzile Mahlangu came to help me. She told me that she also was at the E2 Conference in Singapore. We went upstairs to a computer room with 20 computers with internet. Some of the students (10-12 years old) came already to the class, exited what would happen. I unpacked all my micro:bit things and the kids where already getting involved. One of the girls, was in love with my cat-ears and later on she sad to me: “Please can you be my mom, you are doing all those cool things then I can always learn from you”. When the class started all the kids where there, I first showed them the start video of the micro:bit, and we did the first card (of the quick starting cards) together. Like in a class in the Netherlands. Some of the kids went off really quickly, and others they needed a bit more time. But in the end, they all made some nice things with the micro:bit with a LED light and music. Off course we took some nice pictures all together and I left some micro:bits for the school. At the end of the lesson Amanda Calitz came also to the school, and together we drove to the next session.

The next session was on the WITS university in the eLearning lab for the School of Therapeutic Sciences eLearning. Students and teachers where there for a two hour session. Afther the introduction of
Paula Barnard-Ashton I started off with some theoretic background on why and how you can teach Computational Thinking. Then off course we wanted it to be very practical. So we did one hour with the micro:bit. I used the quick start cards and some of the teachers and students where really fast and quickly came up with ideas what they wanted to make with the micro:bit. One teacher wanted to have twoin his car, to Communicatie with other drivers in a positive or negative way. Also they saw some possibilities to work with the thermometer. The last half hour, we played the human piano with the makeymakey and I introduced them to unplugged coding. And off course I showed the Virtual T-shirt what really gave a wow effect.

Then Amanda drove me to the soup kitchen of Fred and Martie where we should give the first session in their Computer Club. We were late, so all the kids where patiently waiting for us in the grass outside the building. When we entered they turned on the computers, but I immediately thought we have to make another plan and not work with the computers. Amanda thought the same, so we improvised. I started off with an unplugged activity and the kids loved it. Then I showed them the merge cube and handed out the papers. They started cutting out the cube and glued it together. They had so much fun, playing with the augmented reality. I also had the activity from Hello Ruby with making your own computer. Then I put the small game on the micro:bit and did a small competition and the winner of the competition received a chocolate bar. ( I was happy that both of the competitions where won by the girls). After that I showed them the virtual tee and they couldn’t believe their eyes, that the t-shirt came to life. Amanda talked Afrikaans to the kids, and I noticed that English was difficult for them, so I switched to Dutch. That was for the kids much easier. We left 10 micro:bit at the Soup Kitchen so they could use them in their computing club. After this nice afternoon Amanda drove met to a nice restaurant where we had dinner with Paula Barnard-Ashton and her family.

Share this: