Today two RealSchool members -- Benji Cooper ('15) and Amitai Cohen ('15) -- visited Ben Porat Yosef, an elementary school in Paramus, NJ, to give workshops in coding and graphic design. Together, the workshops were an introduction to the world of app making. Benji started with the sixth graders and taught them the basics of coding, while Amitai ran an app design workshop for the seventh and eighth graders. Then the kids switched.
|Amitai and Benji planning their workshops|
Benji began his workshop with how he got started in programming: in the eighth grade, with a program called Scratch, which happens to have been created in one of our favorite places, the MIT Media Lab. Here's Scratch's creator in a TEDx talk:
Check out Scratch here!
As a high school freshman, Benji moved onto learning the basics of programming by learning to code on his calculator, and by tenth grade, he was coding on his computer. To find out more about learning how to code, check out this introduction to programming from the Khan Academy.
In his workshop, Benji used Python to teach the students six functions:
|Benji taught the students how to write a line of text; |
add numbers; create an array; and more
|Benji also taught the students how to make a|
line repeat 10X. Students quickly had the computers
repeating a line 10,000X!
|An unexpected bonus: Benji got to practice his Hebrew language skills,|
with a student who spoke only in Hebrew.
|Amitai explaining his start in graphic design|
|Here's the Superfood logo Amitai made for |
RealSchool's Food Day program
|Amitai ideates with BPY middle schoolers|
|Morah Shira, BPY's edtech director, brainstorms with students|
|BPY students were poised and articulate during their presentation time.|
They're ready for the business world!
|This group's app is called Language Learner. . .|
|. . . and this group also created an app that helps in|
speaking a foreign language: it translates
what you say into the language you choose.
|This group created a game out of the information they learned|
about Egyptian history in their Social Studies class
We loved that students were so engaged in both of the workshops' activities, and we found the kids articulate, poised, and enthusiastic in their presentations. We were also deeply admiring of the students' creativity, genuine interest in learning, and ability to assess and comment on their peers' work.
The middle schoolers asked Morah Shira if they could continue to work on both coding and app design even once the day was over. We're so glad that Benji's and Amitai's workshops sparked a desire to deepen learning in the BPY students, and we loved the opportunity to have students teaching students. Peer learning: it's the way to go!