How Tynker Promotes Peer Learning (And Why That’s Important!)
Stanford University defines peer learning as “students learning from and with each other in both formal and informal ways.” Peer learning can provide emotional support, and the fluidity of roles between teacher and student add to the learning experience. With peer learning, the emphasis is on the learning process. When kids teach and learn from each other – like by using Tynker – they “have the chance to experience and learn that ‘teaching is the best teacher.’”
“This Tynker app is kids encouraging kids to do something!” – Svranthi, Featured Maker Nitish’s Mom
Tynker users know the perks of coding and the excitement that comes with making something of their very own; kids who code cite benefits like expanded creativity, a greater sense of perseverance, focus, and more. By teaching and learning together, they gain all these skills and more – they stay engaged, form connections, and enhance their learning.
Virtual Peer Learning
Virtual peer learning with Tynker is an exciting new era of peer teaching. When we ask kids how they learned to use Tynker, almost every kid cites the Tynker community as integral to developing their skills. They teach and learn through excellent examples, but they also dive in and teach in a more intentional way by creating instructional projects!
“Teaching peers is one of the best ways to develop mastery.” – Jeff Atwood, Co-Founder, Stack Overflow
Unprompted, kids have taken it upon themselves to create projects that teach other kids how to do things like code variables, make objects appear and disappear, and animate projects. In fact, one maker creates projects to give other users tips for using Tynker and speaks about the importance of coding in general. Teaching helps kids learn; it solidifies knowledge, putting it to practical use. Kids render their coding skills concrete by teaching each other!
When they learn from the Tynker community, they’re not sitting down in a classroom and learning from their desk partner; they’re exploring each other’s solutions on their own time. They tell us they look at each others’ code and projects to learn concepts! While they aren’t learning in person they still gain the benefits of learning from someone their own age – benefits like inspiration, emotional connections, and more.
Peer Learning in the Classroom
We know that problem-solving is a huge part of coding and that different people approach problems differently. That’s why peer learning with Tynker is so exciting – it combines the benefits of collaboration with technical learning! It doesn’t follow traditional methods of showing one another how to do an algebra problem or helping edit an essay; rather, it’s interactive and multifaceted. They’re exploring each other’s solutions and seeing various thought processes and results laid out on the screen.
“There is a wealth of evidence that peer teaching is extremely effective for a wide range of goals, content, and students of different levels and personalities.” – McKeachie, et al
Kids who teach each other are resources for their peers learning to code – in fact, they learn together. The project that got maker Reagan featured was a collaboration between her and her friend Ian from theater class. “Our teacher had a catch-up day,” she told us, “so we got to do what we wanted. I asked him to help me with a project and he helped me with it.” Helping one another learn gives kids a sense of pride and solidifies their skills.
We have guest presenters today from sixth grade. They taught the class how to use the coding app Tynker. pic.twitter.com/Yofi69kvgQ
— Mrs. Publow's Class (@MrsPublowsClass) October 11, 2017
Featured Maker Noah looked at Tynker community projects to learn to code; now he’s mentoring younger peers in Tynker! His story is a great example of the sustainability of peer teaching.
Peer Learning at Home
Lots of kids look up to their older siblings; in fact, studies show that their influence can be more powerful than that of their parents! Kids like Sadie set examples for their siblings by creating fantastic projects and helping her sisters do the same. She told us that her sister has made a few projects of her own, and “Whenever she needs help, she’s like, ‘Sadie! How does this block work?’”
This is a fantastic example of peer teaching; when Sadie explains the physics engine to her sister, she not only helps her sister embark on her own coding journey, but she strengthens her own knowledge of it, too.
Peer learning is important to socialization, confidence, and education. Get them coding, learning, and teaching!
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