Laurie Guyon: Coding for Transformational Learning
“I choose Tynker because it’s engaging to students, visually appealing, and challenges them to persevere. ” – Laurie Guyon
|Laurie Guyon Blog|
|Saratoga Springs, NY|
As the Assistant Coordinator for Model Schools at the Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), an organization that provides services to schools in several New York counties, Laurie provides technological professional development for 31 districts. That’s 38,000 students that Laurie helps support! She runs programs, classes, and online workshops to showcase technology tools and support teachers as they make edtech choices in their classrooms. Formerly a sixth-grade English teacher for seven years and an Integration Specialist for two, Laurie brings her love of learning to every teaching opportunity she has. Read on to learn more about why Laurie thinks coding belongs in the classroom.
As an English teacher, Laurie had the opportunity to try out a one-to-one iPad program with her students. She knew right away that she didn’t want using technology to be a mere exercise in substitution: “I didn’t want it to be, ‘OK, instead of doing a worksheet you’re going to do an online piece of paper.’ That didn’t change what I was doing in the classroom. I wanted something that changed it.” Laurie wanted to truly tap into the potential for transformative learning that technology can offer students.
Laurie found out about the Hour of Code, and soon her students–and other classes, as other teachers got excited about coding–started experiencing the kind of creativity, critical thinking, and meaningful learning experiences Laurie knew technology could enable. She tells the story of having an ESL student who was usually very withdrawn and didn’t do much classwork. But when he started working on the coding activities as part of Hour of Code, he connected with the work he was doing. Soon he had finished the activities and wanted to code more at home! Now he’s close to graduating from high school–and plans to study computer science.
It hasn’t just been one student who struggles in other areas of school who has had positive learning experiences with coding. Laurie has discovered that coding brings out different kinds of skills in students, skills that don’t always correlate to having perfect grades across all subjects: “I found that kids who really pick up coding the fastest aren’t your straight-A students. It’s not the ones who can just regurgitate everything you’ve done in the class and give it back to you. The students who do well with coding are the ones that are used to the struggle and are willing to continue to work through it. ESL students excel [with] it…[Students with special needs] tend to do very well with coding because they’re used to persevering, they’re used to having to think through things in a different way.”
Both in her prior role as a classroom teacher and now as someone who guides teachers through technology choices, Laurie feels that Tynker is a great coding platform for teachers and students: “Tynker really offers something to students that is highly engaging. It has a fun feel to it. They like that they get to create their own character, that really is engaging to them…[Tynker is] a nice, engaging platform that’s simple for [teachers] to understand, to start with the basics.”
We’re so excited to have Laurie as part of our Tynker Educator community! We’re sure that her enthusiasm for coding in the classroom will continue to help educators and students in New York!
Read our previous post about Tynker Blue Ribbon Educator Teo Yuang Teck, who is bring coding to Malaysia. One of his students, Teng Wei Rui, recently won the Design a Mission Patch Challenge inspired by NASA spaceflight missions!