Its about 7 weeks since we first started Jammin with the very first Batch of c2pKids.org. Batch1 has an interesting profile – 2 alternating coaches, 4 kids, 2 time zones, kids-n-coaches from 2 separate states (NC & IL) & kids from 3 separate schools. All of these differences close out every Sunday sharp @7:00p.m. EST on Google Hangout. We took our first break after 7 consecutive weekly Jams. We learned a lot along with kids participating in these Jams. One concrete thing that we learned (rather witnessed) is the future of learning and how it is rapidly changing. As we ( I and my buddy coach Hemanta) tried our hands at teaching, we realized how much we had to learn to “unlearn” how to teach and instead just coach.
The role of teacher is gradually un-bundling and becoming one of a coach, no different than a soccer coach. The traditional teacher is gradually having to move from the front of white board and is having to move on the sides —so kids can watch a highly immersible and targeted video delivering a near perfect instruction for a chosen topic. The teacher is now really a coach to summarize that targeted video and to add more color from his/her experience to the topic. Beyond this , the coach (aka former teacher) now has to set up a problem and strategy to solve it–very much like a soccer coach explaining each players the game, the position basics and how to execute the game strategy. After that, our coach, is once again on sides–letting the players execute the game and watch them either struggle or succeed with the planned strategy.
As we tried to get our Jams operational , we struggled to get up the learning & productivity quotients of our Jam sessions. Our course content is from Codecademy.com, so we resorted to their teaching resource kits as our best practices guide. However, we had limited success following their advise, as much of that advise was hard to apply to our virtual Google Hangout based learning experience. I am sure that advise will do magic for After School In-person setting.
It was around this time we ran to this very interesting and inspiring work done by Sugata Mitra (a TED Prize Winner) –on Building School on Cloud. Here was a career educator , a Ted Prize winner and someone who had applied very statistically rigorous methods in studying some of the same teaching ideas that c2pkids.org (aka Jam Method) was flirting with. Sugata codified his work into a methodology called SOLE (Self Organized Learning Experience). As I kept on studying SOLE , I kept on realizing that JAM and SOLE had so much of a common DNA…the ONLY difference was SOLE was creation of a career education scientist while JAM-method was an improvisation of c2pkids coaches when they failed to attract enough local interests in parents to send their kids for an in-person face-2-face after school coding program. Sugata’s SOLE-ideas inspired and validated many assumptions that c2pkids coaches were making. JAM method started appearing more of a specific application of SOLE-philosophy–viz teaching kids to code. We had concluded that c2p Batch size should not be more than 4-5 kids per batch–based on technology limitations , kids maturity and overall experience that we could support.
Like SOLE, our success is based on volunteers –we are trying very hard to devise a model in which volunteer coaches find teaching c2pkids enriching and learning experience. We are happy to inspire more kids , parents and more parents who wish to volunteer to start their own c2pkids Batch with few kids from their own community , home and blend with other kids from distant. We are very close to launch 2-3 more batches by Dec-January time frame.
Net-net: unknowingly, we had adopted SOLE philosophy . So –What can broadband + collaboration tools + light encouragement do?
For c2pKids.org’s Batch-1, in 7 jams, we are witnessing kids showing some early signs of producer kids. Our Batch1 kids understand how to learn , collaborate , decompose work online. They know etiquette of participating in a Hangout, they know how to write minutes of meetings, they know how to track and integrate work done in a distributed mode.
They are experiencing the Future of Learning & Working on Cloud. Thanks for reading this far.
It’s a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify “code” and show that anyone can learn the basics to be a maker, a creator, an innovator.
We’ll provide a variety of self-guided tutorials that anybody can complete, with just a web-browser, tablet, or smartphone. We’ll even have unplugged tutorials for classrooms without computers. No experience is needed.
Watch this “how to” video for more information.
Please contact us if you would like to host a “Hour of Code” event in your school or your community. Use the following form
Well, I don’t know–hence I asked Google Now. After reviewing the results, I realized that much of the conversation around this topic was not really directly tackling this question but another related and important question as to How does a country’s GDP get influenced by contributions from Internet Economy? Their is acknowledgement on growing influence of Internet Economy on country’s GDP but the debate about how that influence is measured is yet to be settled. Either way, getting back to my hypothetical question about treating Internet like a country and attempting to measure its GDP –this weird thought came to my mind as I reflected on a recent NPR story about a recently release book Average is Over by Author and Economist Tyer Cowen. The central theme of this book is all about income inequality (in America) post-recession and elimination of mid-range jobs and rise of high end high paying jobs that need skills to exploit machine intelligence and will need innate skills in ability to make sense of massive amount of data getting generated. I am yet to get my hands on to the book but had the pleasure of listening to NPR interview live. I was intrigued by Tyer Cowen’s hypothesis on top 1% expanding to become top 15%, about how Internet powered with machine learning and precision-level data (about niches about all things and people connected to Internet ) will have a leveling effect on people with skills-n-will and geography will no longer be a barrier for success. In fact more people will have a shot at making it into the top 15% than before–thanks to crowd funding, viral videos stars, viral app-creators, unbundled free online educational content from Stanford to MIT and human resources pools optimized by crowd sourcing platforms.
The more I reflected about Tyer’s hypothesis the more I felt it was hardly about a nation called America. I kind of felt it was more about the nation called Internet. The Internet is really a nation connected with all kinds of stuff, things. data, devices and most importantly people. Most physical countries will be exporting and importing from the Internet Nation. When more developing, curious, younger and hungry physical nations join the Internet Nation—some very specialized , high paying jobs from Internet Nation will become commodity–creating opportunity for more innovation for within ones in top 15% and ones outside of top 15%. Staying in top 15% will become difficult unless we learn to continually learn till we retire out of Internet economy.
Hopefully, by then someone will figure out “If Internet was a country then how would you measure its GDP?”
Well those are not my words but are from the lyrics of famous Bob Marley Song Jamming.
So what has Jamming got to do with C2PKids movement?—actually a lot. Many parents have been quizzing me on what exactly we teach in C2PKids, how we teach, what’s our teaching methodology blah blah ! But before I explain the teaching methodology @C2PKids –let me attempt to explain the teaching philosophy @C2PKids by introducing a common concept in music called Jam.
A jam session is a musical event, process, or activity where musicians play (i.e. “jam”) by improvising without extensive preparation or predefined arrangements. Jam sessions are often used by musicians to develop new material (music), find suitable arrangements, or simply as a social gathering and communal practice session. Jam sessions may be based upon existing songs or forms, may be loosely based on an agreed chord progression or chart suggested by one participant, or may be wholly improvisational. Jam sessions can range from very loose gatherings of amateurs to evenings where a jam session coordinator acts as a “gatekeeper” to ensure that only appropriate-level performers take the stage, to sophisticated improvised recording sessions by professionals which are intended to be edited and released to the public.
C2PKids teaching methodology is heavily influenced from the idea of musical Jams (as explained above). The core concept is we conduct weekly Programming Jams. These Jams are preceded by pre-Jam study material/course ware practiced by students during the week or over week-end before the Jam. The basic assumption is that for Jams to be successful , students will need to be brought to an appropriate level of knowledge before he/she can join a C2P Jam. Like in music, we have Jam session coordinators—they are C2P volunteer coaches (and optionally assisting coach). Jam is designed by industry experienced coach to horn a particular topic, expose students to a way of working or designing technology and is usually designed by extracting something from real world that looks like microcosm of real word technology problem. We are lucky to be in times when collaboration technology is at such sophisticated state that I see most Jams taking place online—crushing distances, time-zones & access barriers between a hungry student and a passionate coach. C2PKids Jams are organized as Google Hangout Events.
Having emphasized on on-line Jams, I take it very seriously that an “in-person” Jam opens doors to a very interesting local economic impacts. With ‘in-person” Jams, I expect to see new friendships formed on basis of common love for technology and opportunity to form future startup teams. Charlotte, NC is probably best known as a Banking town not a high-tech start-up town. I live in Charlotte and love it. I feel that it has some great comparative advantages (relative to big daddy startup hubs like San Francisco, NYC, Boston, Seattle) to be the next high-tech start-up town. But more on that topic some day later—but bottom line is that if we are able to create a pool of technology producing generation of kids then Charlotte could find it’s place on start-up map (and venture funding follows, other economic windfall effects).
At C2PKids we refer to a range of online course-wares (Codecadmy.com, W3Cschool.com, Computing Platform of KhanAcademy.org & many more). At this point I don’t see any point in favoring one course-ware platform over other—all of them have unique advantage and they specialize in different things. Like real world technology project execution, we refer to all as and when the topic demands it.
If you have realized by now then C2PKids teaching methodology is really a blend of Hackathon + Flip teaching methodology. Jams are nothing but extended duration Hackathons of lower intensity levels adjusted for 10-15yrs while Pre-Jam self-study sessions are Flips.
The following schematic (click it for larger view) should bring all of these ideas together in concrete manner—if not feel free to drop me a note.