We recently asked a few teachers who attended our course at Infosys Pathfinders’ Winter Institute to share some advice with the teachers attending our Virtual Summer Institute course.
Chris Awad has been teaching for eight years. He currently teaches technology to pre-K through 8th-grade students in an urban inner-city district in New Jersey. He has a master’s degree in literacy and an educational specialist degree in educational leadership, management, and policy. Chris is currently working on his doctorate in K-12 education and his thesis focuses on creativity, technology and education.
Reflect a bit on your experience with Chibitronics at Pathfinders.
I had never attended a Pathfinders conference or heard of Chibitronics before. I was floored by the concept of Chibitronics and the way it seamlessly bridges together all aspects of STEAM. The conference and workshop were structured in such a positive way that allowed participants to be fully engaged and actively participating. I left the conference so impressed with Chibitronics and truly believe that it allows students multiple pathways to creativity through projected based learning. I love how Chibitronics is designed in a way that allows for easy integration across all content areas to create a truly immersive learning experience for students.
Any advice for teachers taking our Summer Pathfinders course?
In a course like Chibitronics you really have to be relaxed and willing to take risks to see what works, doesn’t work, or needs to be modified. In a sense, working outside of your comfort zone but in a super fun way. Using Chibitronics is the most fun and rewarding when you allow your creativity to shine through your work and projects.
Tell us about the experience of integrating Chibitronics into your classroom. How have students responded? What would you do to make the experience even better?
Post-conference, I almost immediately introduced Chibitronics to my middle schoolers. They were super excited, we started off making simple circuits but what blew me away is almost instantly and instinctively my students began adding art and figuring out how to make a switch. As a technology teacher, I think the experience is enhanced through project-based learning that is cross-curricular in nature. After watching my students I met with the grade level and specialist teachers to see if we could collaborate on a project using Chibitronics as a way to bridge our classes together so that we could make learning across the contents connected and more meaningful for our students.
With most schools having transitioned to online learning, how would you integrate what was taught at Pathfinders into what has so abruptly become a virtual platform?
I’m hoping for a return to normal in September. We had very little time to plan for a long term closure and many of our students were without laptops and internet (and food). Technology is an area that is being addressed and hopefully, every student will start out the next school year with a device in hand. Chibitronics would have been a great product to use for a virtual learning project but the challenge would have been having enough supplies and getting students all the necessary parts and pieces after the closures took place. As the technology teacher, I could have done more coding lessons using MakeCode and the virtual Chibi Chip but I think [remote learning will be an important discussion] during the summer virtual conference.
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