Hi Vicki and all the Bitster Community! :bitstar::bitstar::bitstar:
I’m glad to share with you that after 1 month of creating, playing, remixing and sharing, I’m back from my trip to La Rioja, and I can proudly say that I made a beatiful chaos at Escuela Gabriela Mistral.
Before the beggining of my journey, I packed my backpack with a few Bits that included a Code Kit + some sort of Expansion Pack (around 30+ Bits that included the Makey Makey Bit and 2 Bluetooth Low Energy Bits to name a few), and all my willingness to help and keep learning.
When I arrived, my Bits met new hardware friends that were already at the school but still not used. These were Arduino kits full of really interesting sensors.
Then, I spent one week working with the Principal of the school, two teachers (one with an IT profile and the other one with an Art profile), and also had the chance to meet some people working at the Ministry of Education, so I could get a deeper understanding of the curriculum they were trying to implement and their learning approach.
Instantly, I noticed that they wanted to focus on Invention Based Learning but they were lacking the maker culture needed to jump on hands-on learning without being afraid of making mistakes. Introducing the Invention Cycle helped me to share the concept of a cyclic creative process, and the idea of prototypes and failing fast.
Therefore, I tried different pilot classes with a small number students to test their computational thinking understing and their motivation to gain programming skills and learn about robotics.
The results were excellent, and one of my favorites pilot classes involved introducing littleBits together with the Arduino kits. We could see really fast the functionality of a RBG led with littleBits and we replicated a similar circuit using an Arduino compatible RGB led board, that required wiring and the use of a protoboard.
Finally, my last day at school was a full experience with all the group of students and both teachers. They were around 60 kids aged between 12 - 14 and we ran an improvised version of my Diversity Workshop.
The conditions were extreme and it was interesting to see how all the couples, that previously had picked their Bit to play this role game, rushed into connecting with the only power Bit in the room. The options came clear, it was about sharing or sharing!
To conclude the experience, all kids shared what they liked and learned. And for me it was super special to hear all the different visions they got from this methodology. For example, a girl named all the incredible positive aspects that littleBits offer, like the ease of use, the instant results they got by changing a Bit and turning a light on, or replacing it with another Bit to power a fan, and how the pink modules control the green ones, etc. And on the other hand, one girl said that what se liked the most was that this activity required that they needed to search for another groups to combine their Bits to make something new, and specially that this combination needed to be with Bits with a different color from their own.
In conclusion, I’d like to share with you that I’m really happy with all this new experience for me closer to formal education. And I hope my story will inspire you to try new things, keep following the things that you believe in and lets keep inventing together the world we want to live in!