The Missing Link We Needed

This post was contributed by educator Kim Martin

Project: Innovation / Maker Space Time

Kim has been an educator for over 20 years and specialises in assistive and inclusive digital technologies. She’s a Google Certified Innovator and Apple Distinguished Educator and life long learner who enjoys sharing her passion for digital technologies as an enabler for differentiation, voice, and agency for all learners. She is currently working with 3 Catholic School communities in South Australia as well as the not for profit organisation Can:Do 4Kids.

Thanks Kim.

 

We had recently transformed a computer lab into a great innovative learning space, our 1:1 device program was in its fifth year and we had the teacher with a passion for inclusive digital technologies (me). I was not a coding expert and I had been at the school for a while now so my novelty had possibly worn off a little and I wanted to ensure the reinvigorated learning space was utilized in new and engaging ways, enabling learners opportunities to WONDER, THINK, DESIGN, CREATE, LEARN, INSPIRE with digital technologies.

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Several months before the completion of the new learning space I signed up to Code the Future to look for a volunteer. Whilst the program concept initiated in Victoria the program can search for volunteers that match program requests Australia wide so I was hopeful that Code the Future would find the perfect volunteer for us in Adelaide. I received the good news Code the Future had found a volunteer that matched our project needs just as our space was ready to open its doors at the start of first term this year.

An experienced software engineer, who had recently relocated to Adelaide, met with me prior to school commencing for the year. This enabled us to discuss plans for the program and meant we were ready to advertise the program as an opportunity for students to opt into from Day 1.  Unboxing the 3D printers that had arrived the first week our Code the Future volunteered may have also sparked some students interest in our project.

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Our Code the Future volunteer has been integral to the success of the voluntary coding project for Middle School students at our school. Within 5 weeks of offering the program, we have needed to extend the duration of the sessions and increase the number of students who can attend. We commenced with basic knowledge building and have moved to team robotics workshops and have booked our first excursion to Adelaide University for a robotics workshop and the Apple Store for a Field Trip and our Code the Future volunteer is coming along too.

Having an expert on our team has been awesome and I recommend you sign up to find your own Code the Future volunteer now if you haven’t done so already.

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Here are 4 tips for others keen to get support from Code the Future to find a volunteer for their program

  1. Give Code the Future as much notice as possible so they have time to find you a great volunteer.
  2. Be explicit about what you require the volunteer to do. Do you just need an extra pair of hands or do you need them to run the sessions including planning and resource finding?
  3. Utilise the talents of the volunteer. Even if you have an idea and sessions already planned prior to your volunteer arriving – ask them what their passions and areas of expertise are and incorporate them into the program – it will be a richer experience for all involved.
  4. You don’t need all the latest equipment. We started with a basic html editor and online tools and the students’ devices.  We have since purchased Little Bits and Edison robots, which have been a great addition to our program.
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