Innovators - Adrienne Wiland
K-5 | Technology Skills | App & Robot
Adrienne Wiland is a Technology Enrichment Teacher at PS 108 Capt. Vincent G Fowler in New York. She’s been using Wonder Workshop since February 2016.
I’m a retired teacher, teaching two days a week. This is my 43rd year teaching, and my 11th year as a technology enrichment teacher. My program is set up in 6-week cycles which enables me to work with the entire fifth-grade population, half a class at a time. I work with each group for two days a week, working on projects that are not typically done in the classroom. My main focus right now is coding and creating a space where the children can come in and learn coding using different centers.
I use the Challenge Cards, which are very good, as self-directed tasks that enable the students to take ownership of their own learning. The students see me as a guide, to help them only when needed. I also use the Wonder Workshop site and the curriculum guide, which help me focus on the sequence of how I want to progress from one topic to another.
My students are using the challenges from the competition, although we aren’t entered in it. Right now, we’re working on the missions from this year. The students are collaborating with their partners and building problem solving and critical thinking skills. The biggest challenge we’re having right now is that their lines of code are too long. This week I’m teaching them functions, so they can see how some lines of code can be eliminated by finding patterns. There’s also a challenge among the students to see who can write the least amount of code to solve the missions. They love this and are really are enjoying the added challenge! They love the fact that they are learning to code in order to physically move the robots. This makes their learning more challenging and more interesting. Student engagement definitely increases with the use of Dash and Dot!
Students began with the Blocky language in order to understand the fundamentals of coding and the concepts of sequence and algorithms. We then progressed to Swift Playgrounds using the Dash template and Dash Playground. Additionally, we use another program where students create their own apps for their iPhones. This sets a purpose for learning. I love that part of it! What keeps me teaching is that technology is always changing. It becomes a challenge for me to find new and meaningful ways to integrate technology into my students' learning environment. Whether it’s Dash & Dot or something else, it is important for students to see how what they learn can be integrated and applied to new learning experiences.