Lightning McQueen: Control and Show and Tell

It is two terms now since I worked with the BeeBots and Year 2, and they are still excited about the work we did. I work with this group every Friday and one of the children excitedly came to me yesterday with a toy he had brought for show and tell. Lightning McQueen from the movie "Cars," made a guest appearence during our check in. I asked what had brought Lightning to class today and was told, how he was like our BeeBots only different, and how he thought I would like to meet him. Programmable toys are available in a multitude of varieties these days, but this toy particularly was nice as it's control inputs were readily identifiable by the child as being like those he had used in class. Making links is an important factor in the progression of any area of the curriculum, and I wanted to share this today, as it is the first example I have encounterd in my school of a student making links between a classroom based control activity and his real world experiences. It is a real step forward for me in terms of how far the children's ICT capabilities have progressed since the beginning of the year. As a class we spent some time discussing with him how the toy worked and having him demonstrate this, this was not only good for him, but also then enabled children to talk about toys they have at home that work in a similar way. It made me think of an earlier post, and how as part of an emergent aspect of the ICT curriculum I really want our students to see control as a meaningful and relevant aspect in their lives, and to begin identifying and evaluating control systems in the world around them. Using toys as a starting point might be just such a vehicle to begin enabling children look beyond the interface, and develop oral evaluation and visual disassembly tasks drawing on the personal experiences students have of control in the real world. Thanks J, not only did you make my day, but you were an inspiration.

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