Top tips for Project based Learning

  • CoderDojo Foundation

    I’m currently gathering content for our CoderDojo ‘Mentoring’ E-Learning module and we want your feedback!

    If you have any top tips for moving young people from learning the basics to creating their own project please let us know! This could be brainstorming exercises or challenges or something completely different - we’d love to hear!

    You may even get featured on the new module due to be released in September!



  • MegaDojo

    Hi Rosa
    This is where we’ve the sushi cards, the belts and the coolest projects work quiet well together.
    We usually have a beginners area in scratch, kids normally stay in this area for 4-6. In the HTML group we start them on the Sushi cards.
    After the first few weeks, we’ve move them into the intermediate area and get them to start work on a yellow belt project. My advice is always pick something that interests you and use the code to tell the world about it.
    We have project presentations every couple of weeks were the ninjas get up and present their projects and get awarded with their belt. Then the cycle begins again

    One of the key things i’ve found is you have to keep encouraging the ninjas. In my group I try to sit down with everyone for a few minutes each week to see how their projects are going and where they need help.

  • CoderDojo Foundation

    Yea, I agree with Barry. When children are initially using scratch/sushi cards encourage them to change/edit it to be more relevant to them.

    Create a space of inquiry where ninjas are encouraged to look at and discover the needs of those around them in their community.

    Having ninjas brainstorm in groups can be useful. Give them a dilemma, and how they could create something with tech to solve it. Then encourage them to think of a problem that is important for them and to work in the group or individually to come up with project ideas how to solve it.
    Mentors can help ninjas ask the questions to discover what those needs are and develop projects to help meet those needs in some way without intruding.

    Showing them other projects children like them have made, such as those at Coolest Projects can also be good for making them realise that they can make things that can help people/meet a need.

    Badging is also great for rewarding their projects, recognising their work and encouraging them to try bigger projects.

  • I’m thinking about creating a set of Sushi Cards about the Project-Based Learning in CoderDojo that will include the Belt System, Project Tools Examples and Project Charter Template. The Project Tools can be probably split into several Sushi cards according the different paths (similar to the CoderDojo Bento Boxes). What do you think about it?

  • CoderDojo Foundation

    Hey @Pavlo I hope you are well. How are you getting on with Project-based learning cards? I really liked the project tools examples you showed on the January community call, so would be interested to hear how you are getting on.

  • Hey @Nuala-Nic-Éil!

    At the moment I am trying to focus on promoting the wrist belts in our CoderDojo Waterloo. We have finally received the belts and we start to award them for the first projects in our April Dojo. The wrist belt system will be the first Sushi card. I still need to work on it a bit so that it’s shorter and clearer for kids.

    Then I will start adding cards for each learning paths: Game Design, Web Design, App Development, Minecraft Modding etc. I want them to be more graphical rather than a table which might look boring for kids. My idea is to prepare these cards as a part of the interactive workshops that will showcase new project tools. The problem is that kids feel quite comfortable with Scratch and don’t always want to try something new. The workshop environment might help them to get out of their Scratch “bubble” and let them learn more complicated tools that are required for the higher level belts. The end goal would be that kids do workshops themselves. Actually it’s also included in the belt system as the project impact for a local CoderDojo (see the requirements for the green belt).

    I think the belt system is crucial here since it allows kids to track their progress as well as to grow both in their programming and soft skills. Moreover, it’s self-promoting because once the belts are out, other kids will notice them and might also want to get them. Can’t wait till our next CoderDojo to start rolling it out! =)

  • Hi @Nuala-Nic-Éil!

    I have a quick update about the “Project-Based Learning” Sushi cards. 4 of them are ready (see the links below) and 4 are still to come.
    Project-Based Learning 1 - Belt System
    Project-Based Learning 2 - Paths Overview
    Project-Based Learning 3 - Game Development Tools
    Project-Based Learning 4 - Web Development Tools
    The final 4 Sushi cards will cover the tools for the remaining paths (App Development, Minecraft Modding, Robotics and Digital Making).

    In order for kids to learn the new tools, I included in the Sushi cards links to YouTube/online tutorials. Since there are so many good tutorials available, I thought this would be an optimal solution.

    And during our April session we have finally awarded the first two white belts! So I hope that these Sushi cards will be useful for the kids who want to get higher-level belts.

    What do you think about these Sushi cards? How can I improve them?

  • CoderDojo Foundation

    I’m personally looking into Love2D for the gameDev path, coupled with Tiled and Piskel. That makes a trio of assets creation + “game engine”/framework which seems quite powerful (and OpenSource) for kids to get a quick result while covering most of the game creation process. Most of the problematic of animation/collision engine/whatever is encapsuled in a quite straightforward library that ease towards a “final” result rather than a technical challenge.

  • @Pavlo they look awesome Pavlo, I believe that will give kids some tools to help decide the direction they want to go, how the belts & badges relate and where they can go for more info :) fantastic :)

  • CoderDojo Foundation

    @Pavlo Well done Pavlo! Thanks for sharing all you’ve created so far with the community so others can try it out :D I really like how clear they are for ninjas to see what tools they can use to progress. Just wondering how did you decide on videos to use? Had ninjas tried them out at your Dojo?
    Our Content Lead @Philip-Harney and Content Developer @Ciara-McHugh might be able to give you more detailed and useful feedback on the cards tomorrow as well. :slight_smile:

  • CoderDojo Foundation

    @Guillaume-Feliciano very excited to see this! :D made this carrot sprite on Piskel, it’s a really simple tool for making them :) alt text

  • Hi @Nuala-Nic-Éil!

    I have found these videos myself and will try to advertise them to kids during workshops. There is a lot of high quality content on YouTube that can be used for learning or project inspiration. In addition, it’s free, easy to distribute and can be even watched at home. Actually that’s something that I do myself when I need to learn software - I first look for a YouTube tutorial :) So these Sushi Cards are actually digital with links/resources for particular tools.

  • Docklands Dojo

    @Pavlo Thanks for sharing these Sushi Cards! As @Nichole-Jasper and @Nuala-Nic-Éil have said, they are nice and clearly laid out, simple and concise as Sushi Cards should be :)

    It’s definitely great to have a selected bunch of tools and resources collected together like this for Ninjas to easily choose from.

    Regarding the linked resources, videos can certainly be useful for showing you how to do things where it would be hard to describe on paper, and especially if the video is engaging it can be more fun that way too. Of course a good internet connection is essential for watching videos online, especially if there are many kids watching them at the same time. This can be a problem at Dojos, in which case it may be more suited to home learning as you said.

    One other thing to note, I would maybe be wary of sending Ninjas directly to YouTube as you cannot control what else they might encounter there, for example inappropriate comments (sadly) or other videos that are either distracting or unsuitable. Resources on dedicated websites are preferable but of course not always available. Perhaps consider embedding the YouTube videos if possible? You are right in that there is a lot of high quality material on YouTube!

  • Hi @Ciara-McHugh!

    Thanks for your comments! Will it make sense to include the belt system and the tools to the website of our local CoderDojo? Then I can easily embed YouTube videos and make these materials available to the larger community. I will definitely do it once I finish the rest of the cards.

  • Docklands Dojo

    @Pavlo Sounds like a good idea, if you have the website then why not! We are also looking into getting the videos embedded on our site so you can make everything more widely available through Kata. Once we have the pages with the videos done, and the new links, you can upload the Sushi Cards to Kata, or we can upload them for you :slight_smile:

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