A recurring issue we have is a low number of volunteers on Saturday, but the children are much more responsible, so we combat this by having the children lead their own learning.
This week we tried something where we set up laptops for all the kids and depending on their preference/age we set them up with different things like Scratch, Spongebob Typing Game, or Code Academy. Some of them went on http://coolmath.com to do some educational games later on as well. It worked quite well, so we’ll see if we’re going to try it again next week.
Last week at IOSC, one of the kids tried Sonic Pi, but no one really knew how to teach him it. Since then, TeCanal has written a Sonic Pi curriculum (Find it here: http://curriculum.tecanal.org/doku.php?id=sonic_pi). We also did another trial of the Raspberry Pi and Kano. The Raspberry Pi 2 is running quite slowly, so we might have to buy the Raspberry Pi 3, which is significantly faster.
Waning the kids of Scratch was the initial plan, but we tried it again with a kid, and showed him some of the more advanced functions. This was enough to hook him on Scratch again, and he wants to learn the deeper, more hidden parts of Scratch.
The children at the Immigrant Outreach Service Center (IOSC) are children that are part of families that have just immigrated to the United States. All this kids speak English very well, and are also extremely well-behaved. The director of tutoring at IOSC wants us to do mostly computer/technology related teaching there, so the curriculum differs vastly from that of Mattie B.
The ages of the kids vary, so some children are still working on Scratch or prefer to work on the Spongebob Typing Tutoring game, while others are working on HTML or Python. One major obstacle that we face is engagement. These kids are all very intelligent, but when it is a weekend, and they have already been in tutoring for an hour, it is hard for them to stay on task.
We have begun to combat this by doing more personalized teaching/curriculum and by doing more fun Computer Science activities. Our CTO, Rees Draminski, had a leftover Raspberry Pi (https://www.raspberrypi.org/), so he loaded Kano OS (https://kano.me/) on it and had the kids try it. They especially liked the Minecraft activity, but it was tempting for them to just play Minecraft, rather than doing the activities within Minecraft.
One kid was on a music creation site instead of doing his work, but instead of chastising him, we knew of an awesome program called Sonic Pi (http://sonic-pi.net/), so we installed it on the computer, and get him started on that. Our curriculum is designed to be very flexible, and is always changing depending on the needs of the children.
To see some of the resources we use, go to: http://curriculum.tecanal.org/doku.php?id=curated_resources