Together we always win! Insights from Code Week Bootcamp MOOC Study Groups
Publication date: November 30, 2022
By Debora Carmela Niutta, Code Week Study Group Leader in Italy
What is EU Code Week Bootcamp?
EU Code Week Bootcamp is a EU Code Week MOOC that will provide pre-primary, primary and secondary school teachers with practical ideas, tools and resources to help them bring coding and computational thinking into the classroom. Attending this course, teachers will raise awareness of diversity and inclusion in coding and explore the potentials of artificial intelligence in education.
The Bootcamp is open to all teachers in Europe, regardless of the subject they teach, and offers practical ideas, tools and resources to help them bring coding and computational thinking into the classroom. They can follow the course at their own pace, with one module being opened at the beginning of each week. For more information click here, and make sure to follow us on social media – you can join our Facebook group or share your thoughts on Twitter using the hashtag #CodeWeekBootcamp.
Bootcamp MOOC Study Group through Debora’s eyes
Our study group is formed by five members, including myself: two kindergarten teachers (Ernestina and Monia) and three primary school teachers (Monica, Samanta and myself), one of which is a special needs teacher. We teach in the same school, however and because this has different classes and levels – kindergarten, primary and middle schools – we’ve never worked all five together before the Bootcamp, which was a really nice experience.
How did you get your colleagues to participate?
It was not a hard job to get my colleagues involved in this initiative, I just really asked, and they said yes! All of them knew Code Week from before, as they had already taken part in some small coding activities and had a great desire to keep learning about coding and Code Week, benefiting from its community and its initiatives such as this one of the study groups.
What was the meeting about?
Mainly what we reviewed in our weekly meetings were the module published during the week, doing together some exercises related to it and helping each other in the translation from English to Italian; we also planned the activities proposed by the course to try them out in class with the pupils and learned many new things, to name a few: that many teachers were using Tinkering for a long time, even if they did not know it was called so, or how to draw in 3D even without any experience. It was a lot of fun!
Where and when did it take place?
We met once a week online via MS Teams. We chose to meet online in order to dedicate as much time as possible to the study group and to facilitate the needs of all. Thanks to this tool, we were able to share all material and create new activities.
What were the most outstanding achievements/activities?
As a final assignment, we devised an unplugged coding activity for pupils aged 5-9 and pupils with special needs. To accomplish the task, we took a flashcard from the textbook and modified it. The problem to be solved was the same for everyone: helping the main character to return home safely. Younger pupils used CodyFeet to reach this goal, others helped the main character finding his way back home by giving him instructions in the form of path of arrows to follow. Pupils with special needs opted for the option of drawing the path with coloured bottle caps.
Thanks to this activity we have understood that it is possible to realise transversal activities in more grades within the same schools. In addition, we were able to see first-hand the inclusivity of coding and computational thinking.
How can readers replicate your approach or get inspired?
My approach to the study group was very simple: teachers were asked to “go back to school” and feel, think and act as they were pupils again, experiencing strong motivation to learn and having the desire to experiment with new activities and ideas.
Some of the group members said that without the study group they would have never participated in the MOOC and working together helped them understand topics that seemed very difficult and impossible to use in school at first. The group also helped overcome the difficulty of following the course in a foreign language, leaving the attendees with a clear unanimous message: together we always win!