Code Mobile travels to Kenora Catholic elementary schools

Code Mobile travels to Kenora Catholic elementary schools
Posted on 05/21/2019
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Kenora Catholic elementary students had a chance to try out their coding skills at a special workshop put on by the Code Mobile. The Code Mobile is an initiative that involves 13 vans traveling across Canada putting technology in the hands of Canadian youth who may not otherwise have the experience.

"We've been doing design thinking with robotic workshops," said Jodie Elayne, Code Mobile Communications Lead for Winnipeg. "We've been using the process of design thinking to make things better. Thinking about a problem we have in the world or in our life and how we can use thoughtful design to solve those problems. So whether that's making things more accessible, more beautiful or more effective."

The Code Mobile is sponsored by the Government of Canada's CanCode initiative, Google, RBC and Amazon. Innovation and Creativity Coordinator, Megan Baker, explains why she applied for the Code Mobile to visit Kenora Catholic schools.

"We know that our students are already using technology in many different ways and this was an opportunity to extend and enrich their experience, using robots and coding to spark their creativity," said Baker. "The emphasis was more on collaboration and problem-solving skills in an effort to steer students away from the consumption mindset surrounding technology. The Code Mobile presenters, Jodie and Graham walked the students and teachers through the steps of the design thinking process: brainstorm, blueprint, build-out, beta testing, and reflection."

Graham began the workshop by having kids try to "code" him to sit on a chair. Students quickly learned that robots need very specific instructions or else "move forward" could mean moving right past the chair and straight into a wall. They were then given some time to design a robot that would help solve a problem of their choosing before actually getting their hands on Dash the robot to modify it to their needs.

"We came up with, whenever parents are tired and need to wake up to do stuff, it's a coffee machine that follows you around," said Ireland Roulston, a Grade 5 student at SMB.

Roulston and her partner Brooklyn Bartel designed Dash to have a coffee machine on one side that pours coffee through a straw into a cup on the other side. Dash is mobile so the coffee robot could deliver the coffee when needed.

"We knew right away what we wanted to make," said Bartel. "This way parents don't fall asleep and end up snoring in the shower. We called it Coffee to Go."

Other inventions included a robot that cleans your room, a robot that picks up dog poop and holds it during a walk, and a robot that does yard work; cutting the grass, blowing leaves and trimming hedges.

"The great thing about the programming we do is it focuses on making kids not just be consumers of technology but that they can be creators," said Jodie. "The time they spend on the screen is not just sitting and passively paying someone else's creations. They are thinking about something they can make and thinking of ways that they can take what they're looking at and make it better reflect their values and their community."

Baker said in the future she's hoping to bring back the team to offer a digital entrepreneurship class for students in high school as well as the community. The class helps people create a digital resume and introduces them to working with html to build a website The community course would teach everything from building a website to online marketing.

Two girls work on their designsThe instructor helps two students work on coding their robot.jpg

Two female students use lego and pip cleaners to make the attachements for their robot to perform its duties.jpgTwo students, a boy and girl, brainstorm ideas for what they want their robot to do.jpg

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