Fable at DigiKidz Eastercamp with Microsoft
The purpose of DigiKidz is to promote the children’s ability to design and realize digital products including the testing and refinement of these, and the teaching will focus on the children as creative and innovative manufacturers. Along with this purpose it is also within the DNA of DigiKidz that the children will have three days where the social aspect and the companionship with other children / young people is the focus.
The theme of this year’s DIgiKidz 2018 is: Travel. Based on available technology, such as programmable robots, drones and smartphones, the children will work with this theme which will lead towards the realization of digital products of different natures. These digital products can, as an example, take the shape of games, simulations, apps, websites and robots. Thereby the children will work with not only hardware but also software. This will also give an opportunity to include creative physical materials that can be integrated in the digital work.
Reasoning for choice of theme
Which skills will be achieved by the children by working with the theme of this year?
- In the work with Travel a bridge is made between the experiences of the children and the abstract thinking of the term “travel” in a broader context.
- In the tasks a special emphasis is placed on the innovative work process of the children and open task assignments that contains opportunities for creativity.
- The children will learn to make use of new digital tools and become acquainted with the concept of app-smashing where multiple tools are applied as part of a product and together becomes a full product.
How can this topic support the children in their knowledge of IT / the digital world?
- The students work with challenges from the real world and in the assignments they are challenged to propose futuristic ways that technology can change the possibilities of the future.
- In the work with the multimodal stories in Book Creator the children will get the opportunity to think creatively and grapple with the interactions between the different modalities. An emphasis is placed on the possibility of including different digital tools in the work.
Introduction to Fable
The Fable-robot was part of the middle grade of DigiKidz – the grade involving children from grades 3-4. The grade was made up of approximately 20 children per team.
As described above, the Fable-robot was part of a joined package of different digital equipment which was both based in software as well as hardware.
The students were introduced to the theme and the different technologies we would work with in the coming three days on DigiKidz Eastercamp. The introduction to Fable went as follows:
- How do we want to make use of Fable on our team? (Main character & other?)
- Understand the programming HOUR OF CODE
- Get started with Fable!
- Open the boxes, build a robot.
- Installment of the software
- Exercises from ”Getting Started”
- Task 3 – First movements
- Task 5 – Try the loop
- Task 7 – Arrow keys
- Setup with an extra arm.
- Task 8. “monitoring robot”
- Task assignment in the drive “Build a social robot”
Fable in context
After the children were able to master the Fable-robot, we started getting creative. How do you apply a Fable-robot to the theme of “travel”? Which functions can it perform? Multiple ideas on how the robot can function in the theme were offered.
The children decided, that they would join forces with their Fable-robots and create an airport “security check”. Here the Fable-robot had to act as a security guard. First and foremost, the robot had to LOOK like a security guard, so it was decorated with cloth, paper and LEGO. Then the robot had to, by itself, figure out, whether you could pass through the check-in or not. To make this possible, the children programmed the Fable-robot to react negatively to the color red. One arm had to direct the other Fable-robots through the gate.
The children built the stage and a couple of the children were tasked with recording it all on video. The video of the security-check was then included as a product in the individual travel logs of the children which was created in BookCreator. This is where the student gathered their different products which they created besides their work with Fable which made up their personal travel log.
” Chinese Cocio-drinker”
After all the different technologies were introduced the children were free to choose which technologies they wanted to carry on working with. Two girls chose to include a scene from China in their travel log. Their main character, a Chinese Fable, which they had programmed to pour Cocio from a bottle and into a glass.
Once again this had to be documented and here the girls opted to use the technology of stop-motion. Here they were able to give live to the many Cocio bottles and afterwards in the travel log it was possible to see a Chinese Fable first pour Cocio into a glass, followed by 5 dancing Cocios, who were also poured into a glass and drunk by the Fable-robot – because that is how it is done in China…
“A school in Hungary”
Another example of a voluntary project is about a trip to Hungary by two girls where they had to experience how robots educate children – because that is how it is done in Hungary…
This was a very ambitious programming project – the teacher had to write on the board. After mounting a pen in the hand of the Fable and placing it in front of a whiteboard the girls had to program every letter the teacher was supposed to write. It was a great idea and the girls worked very hard. However, time was against the girls and they had to change course. Instead of filming the writing on the whiteboard with video they had make use of stop motion and draw the letters themselves – but the idea is great!