Jyrki Mylly of Keiska School has taken a consistent approach to building up digital skills with his 3rd grade students
Developing computational thinking skills is the 3rd grade
Jyrki Mylly, a teacher at Keiska School in Haukipudas, welcomed us in his classroom to witness a coding lesson. Keiska School is a small countryside school in the Oulu region, Finland, with only 60 students from grades 1 to 4. The school might be small, but it does prepare its students for the wider world by teaching computational thinking and coding already in the primary grades.
Consistent and targeted practice
Developing computational thinking skills requires consistent and targeted practice. Jyrki’s students started their practice earlier this year with unplugged activities such as robot role-play to master steering commands. They also played coding games on code.org learning to apply the same commands in a digital environment. Code.org is a great starting point for understanding the basic concepts. To facilitate deeper learning, Jyrki wanted students to design and create their own content.
Cross-curricular coding builds problem-solving skills
Jyrki chose Code School Finland’s Code & Create module to support his students’ learning. During our visit, students were creating animations in the visual coding environment Scratch. Coding interactive digital stories teach students to apply decomposition, sequencing, and problem solving skills. All these competences are applicable in other subjects too. Such projects allow students to practice their creativity and become creators instead of mindless consumers in the digital world.
The students were eager to show us their stories about, for example, chicken having funny conversations. Even such funny little stories require many skills such as decomposition and sequencing to make the characters act the right way in the right order.
Peer learning and tutors for teachers
Code School Finland collaborated with the City of Oulu to offer comprehensive training and teaching materials on coding and robotics for all teachers.
Jyrki is an experienced teacher who had done Code School Finland training before. However, not all classroom teachers possess the same level of proficiency. To support less experienced teachers, Jyrki proposed leveraging peer learning and utilizing the role of a tutor teacher who can provide the necessary guidance.
In practice, peer learning means letting students help and teach each other and the teacher. There is certainly nothing wrong with allowing a student teach the teacher! On the contrary, it can be a good learning experience for the whole class. Teacher has an opportunity to be a role model in the process of learning a new topic. They can be a practical example of not getting upset or frustrated when something seems difficult at first.
The tutor teacher system is also a great support function. Teachers who are keen to take up a more prominent role receive additional training and opportunity to dedicate extra time to helping their colleagues with the practicalities of teaching coding.
How we help your school succeed
Code School Finland’s approach encourages teachers, even experienced ones, to rely on peer learning. It simply makes learning easier for students.
In our teacher training programmes we offer a dedicated track for tutor teachers equipping them with the skills to assist their colleagues after the training. This helps schools become self-sufficient in their digital skills education.
Our turn-key service Teachease provides teacher training, support and teaching materials tailored for your school. Read more here.
Request a free, non-binding Teachease plan:
a customised proposal for your school
1) Answer a few questions about your school and your vision for digital skills education
2) We will align your vision with relevant Teachease modules and put together a plan.
3) We will send you a plan with an explanation of practicalities within 5 working days.