Lisa Sato Encourages Her Students to See the Importance of Coding
We’re excited to introduce Lisa Sato, a phenomenal educator and the recipient of a grant for teachers in low-income or Title I schools, offered in partnership with Infosys Foundation USA. She’s been teaching for 18 years and has experience with every grade K-8 at both public and private schools. Currently, she teaches 6th grade at Katherine R. Smith Elementary School in San Jose, California. We’re excited to share a bit about her, why she teaches code, and how Tynker changed her classroom!
The Importance of Computer Science
Lisa was exposed to computers at a young age, inspiring her to bring coding into her classroom. She told us, “Technology has been a significant part of my most of my life, so I understand how important it is to integrate it in today’s world.” Lisa’s family, too, has been involved in tech over the years: “My mother [worked] on assembling PC boards for most of my childhood, and my sister currently [works] on a design team at Apple.”
Teaching coding with Tynker is a way for Lisa to pass on that digital literacy! She loves the way “Tynker has lessons integrated for students to learn the different components of coding,” and she thinks the ability to unlock objects and customize avatars is helpful and exciting for students. She told us, “I suggest Tynker all the time when other educators ask me about coding. I think [Tynker] is very accessible to students and helps them start to understand coding.” She’s been using Tynker for the past three years and believes “it’s an important lesson for students to explore the opportunities available to them in this area, getting them prepared for careers in the future if they would like to go into coding and programming.”
Why Lisa Applied for the Infosys Grant
Lisa’s students inspired her to apply to the grant! They were creating great projects with the free version of Tynker, so she wanted to give them the opportunity to do even more. She “used the full version of Tynker throughout the school year to prepare them to code for our final project at the end of the year. During the project, the students used the full version to access all the different models and stages to create their final game.” Lisa told us, “With the grant, the students this year were able to take their game design to the next level.”
Tynkering in Lisa’s Classroom
Lisa’s teaching style promotes self-sufficiency, persistence, and problem solving, allowing her students to learn coding as well as the skills necessary to be a successful programmer. She told us, “When I teach coding, I teach the language of how to give directions, and [I teach] using cause and effect to help them understand the coding. I also like to integrate math and teach integers and the movement of positive and negative integers.”
In the classroom, she heard students’ excitement and collaboration as they worked like true professionals. “They were excited about the different games they could create. They discussed ways to create objects to collect, how to make the game more challenging, and how to solve glitches or problems that they came across.” Her students learned to test different iterations of their games. They “learned to persist and use problem solving skills because they had to get through glitches and programming errors.” She saw them problem solve collaboratively and use tutorials before reaching out to her for help. If they did reach out to her, she “spent time going through tutorials to solve their issue or reached out to Tynker for help.”
Why Tynker Makes the Difference
Lisa saw significant improvement among her students after using Tynker in her classroom! “My students gained a better understanding of computer programming,” she said. “They also gained a better understanding of the learning process and how to get feedback about a product and revise from that feedback.” Lisa gave some great advice for educators new to coding, suggesting that they “go through the lessons themselves so that they can see what the students are going to experience.”
We’re so inspired by Lisa’s approach and passion as she helps her students acquire a new and important skill. Thank you, Lisa, for bringing coding with Tynker into your classroom!