My first encounter with coding was as a kid at the Omar Dengo Foundation at an afterschool program using LEGO Mindstorms. Today, I work at the Omar Dengo Foundation (ODF) designing K-12 computational media and physical computing learning experiences. Working with public school teachers and students from across the country has been a great way to learn about learning and the challenges and opportunities we face. Here are some of the things I’ve been up to:
I’m part of the team that is redesigning the National K-12 Computer Science Labs Program (Programa Nacional de Informatica Educativa: Modalidad Laboratorios)which covers more than a thousand public schools and highschools across the country.
We are embracing the constructionist roots of the Program while updating the technologies, strategies, and topics learners explore in the labs to make sure they match our “powerful ideas“ conceptual framework and promote computational thinking practices and perspectives. I was lucky to work with my colleagues in redesigning 8th and 9th grades.
For eight grade we looked for a sustainable model to have robotics kits (using studless LEGO, Arduino, and Arduino sensors) in every school and developed attractive learning experiences for students to make projects. In 9th grade we worked together with students to create a set of modules that allow learners to propose and make projects they are passionate about with their peers (some of these projects include collaborative playlists, multi-player games, chats and video mixers). Through this iterative redesign process I’ve visited schools, talked to many teachers, piloted and monitored learning initiatives.