Playful coding tasks: computational thinking makes its way to the language classroom
Computational thinking and coding have become part of the educational curriculum in many schools. But what about learning to code in English? Definitely possible! In this session I will be discussing the difference between computational thinking and coding and their place in the language classroom, in line with problem-based methodologies. The session will continue with basic concepts that can be introduced with young learners (8 year-olds onwards), and practical examples of playful and game-like tasks that learners can carry out using the free online coding programme 'Scratch' and the 'Micro:bit' programmable card. The features of these programming options will be shown, and the tasks showcased will be sequenced in order of complexity, according to the coding concepts involved.
The initial tasks on 'Scratch' will include animating text and characters, in order to create simple visuals and then stories, and coding simple games and musical sequences. As the learners gradually acquire coding skills, the next set of tasks will be using the Micro:bit card to code objects for application projects, like a dice, a sound warning, a poll and a moisture sensor. As we showcase each task, we will dive into the code itself as much as possible.
By the end of the session, participants will have become familiar with coding options that can easily be used in the classroom, ways of making coding relevant for language learning, and meaningful task ideas and samples of students’ work.
Vicky Saumell is a teacher, trainer, materials writer and presenter, and has worked for major publishers. She currently teaches at primary and secondary level schools in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She is the Coordinator of IATEFL Learning Technologies SIG. She has a website at www.vickysaumell.com.