The Coding to Learn and Create project is developing an inclusivecoding environment and an open educational resource repository in collaboration with educators, students and their families. To this end, we are working with students with complex learning needs and their families as well as special education teachers. Each group will be actively involved in the project as co-designers of the work in progress. Here is a list of some of the collaborative activities we've done or are planning to do with our co-designers:
Summer Coding Camps for Kids with Disabilities
Four coding camps are planned during July and August 2019. The campsites will be at centers specialized in working with kids with complex learning needs and they are spread around 4 different locations (Thornhill, Aurora, Milton and Muskoka). IDRC team will join the Bridges Canada team for the first three camps in order to help them facilitate their activities and also conduct a co-design session for the C2LC prototype.
The team members will be working with kids with different abilities and from different age groups over 5 days. During the first four days, the campers will have a chance to work with Cubetto, Code and Go Mouse, Dash and Dot and Sphero robots to learn basic coding concepts, such as categorization, sequences, parameters and repeated patterns. On the last day of their coding camp, campers will be introduced to the C2LC prototype and they will have an opportunity to practice the prototype through an art activity. In this activity, campers will program a sequence using the C2LC prototype and they will have Dash and Sphero robots to draw/paint their sequence on a blank canvas. Once campers have had an opportunity to trial the prototype and test its different aspects, they will be involved in a co-design activity to generate ideas about how to improve the prototype to better address their needs. A summary of the co-design sessions and their results will be publicly posted on the Coding to Learn and Create website.
The goal of having these co-design sessions at coding camps is to integrate the campers' ideas into the design of the prototype early on and as the project is being developed. Our team is also hoping to build long term relationships with these kids, their families and care providers in different regions in order to involve them throughout the project as co-designers.
Community Drop-in/Coding Corner
A specific time and space will be designated for community gatherings to discuss specific topics, technologies, ideas and issues related to the project. The topic of each event will be announced to the community via email and the IDRC and Bridges' social media pages. Remote participants are also welcome to join these meetings via an online video conferencing system. These meetings will be held on a monthly or bi-monthly basis depending on available topics and the interest of the community. A wide range of technologies, such as coding tools for kids, robots, and switches will be made available in the designated space to give participants an opportunity to use the existing technologies, identify their strengths and weaknesses and compare them with the project’s work in progress. These sessions are semi-structured. A presenter/facilitator will introduce the topic for each session and then propose a few ideas/prompts/ questions for the discussion. Each session can take up to 1.5 hours. The facilitator ensures that everyone gets a chance to share their ideas. When concluding the session, the facilitator will encourage participants to continue the conversation through email and on social media pages to inform the larger community about the discussed topics. The project team will integrate the notes and insights from these sessions into the project’s deliverable.
Facilitated co-design workshops at IDRC
At different phases of the project, IDRC team will have small to medium size co-design workshops in order to bring together the intended user groups. During these workshops, participants will be working on specific topics related to the project. Each session will take about 3-6 hours and 10-15 people will participate in the activities. 3-5 project team members will also be available during each workshop to facilitate the activities. The project team will plan the activities collaboratively with Bridges and other partner educators and advisors to ensure they are suitable for the participants. The workshop material can be provided in alternative formats and ahead of time if requested by the participants.
Embedded co-design workshops
IDRC and Bridges will identify different organizations, schools, and institutions across the Southern regions in Ontario to invite them to participate in an embedded co-design process. The project team will work with the interested organizations to plan activities that are appropriate for their context, members and available resources. These sessions can be conducted in the presence of facilitators from the project team or only with internal facilitators from the partner organization. In the latter case, IDRC team will provide the internal facilitators with a facilitation guide and a full description of the activities and how they can be conducted including facilitation tips and strategies. IDRC team will also provide the internal team with all the required artifacts, material, and worksheets needed for the embedded co-design activity. After each session, the project team will meet with the internal facilitators to get their insight into the session and also collect the materials and worksheets from the embedded workshop.
Online Mini-Coding Sessions
During to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been planning a series of online coding sessions using Zoom. The goal is to try out new coding activities and get feedback on our work, while also giving learners, their teachers, and parents a break from the routine of daily online classes. These will take the place of our in-person co-design efforts until it is safe to resume them. To learn more, read our Letter to Students and Parents about Online Coding Sessions
Co-Design Activity Notes
Here is a summary of our co-design activities so far. These sessions were held at a primary school in the Toronto area that is specialized in working with students with complex learning needs. Teachers and personal assistants helped to facilitate the sessions and also assisted some of the students to participate in the activities.