Teaching robotics and coding skills that engage and inspire First Nations kids!
Elephant Thoughts is one of the Nation’s largest science outreach programs. We have taught Robotics and Coding Applications for 15 years in over 150 schools/communities nationwide through in-class programs, professional development workshops for teachers, and summer camps for children. Over this time, we have exposed more than 75,000 students to programming applications and supported dozens of schools to adopt their own ongoing robotics and coding programs. We start coding lessons with students that cannot yet read, as early as kindergarten utilizing.
How We Do It
Elephant Thoughts teaches Coding through robotics applications, online courses, and computer gaming.
Our objectives in all of our programs begin with students understanding basic computational thinking. We start all of our lessons whether to 4 years old or Grade 12 students with challenges in computational thinking without a computer. We use role-play exercises, and running around games to help children understand logic patterns and commands. Combined with amazing electrical demonstrations using tesla coils, semi-conductors and circuit toys, we demystify what a computer is and how it works.
Students then engage in a number of educational robotics platforms, experiencing different coding platforms and of course having lots of fun satisfying challenges and competitions.
More advanced students, use our simple online tutorials that teach coding through game design.
It is easy, it exciting, it is fun.
Why We Do It
You only need to google “coding” and “education” to realize that coding is the most talked about shifts in education globally. There are mountains of evidence as to the benefits for students.
In remote communities educators see coding as a means to economic development and jobs in places that have limited opportunities. Exciting platforms engage students and combat high absenteeism. We also see an opportunity for First Nations to have a strong voice through technology, we see solutions to teacher shortages, and so much more…
Teaching coding in the far north is a widely accepted strategy to combat a number of issues in education.
For us as teachers, one of the most exciting benefits is that coding actually helps students learn to learn.
Research shows playing computer games in the classroom can improve concentration.
The brain “wanders” less when an element of competition and “uncertain reward” is introduced.
Elephant Thoughts has become one of Canada’s most successful organizations to increase graduation rates at First Nation schools in Canada. Part of the reasons for that is we know that all children learn differently and that education is not about disseminating knowledge, it is allowing students to cultivate higher level ways of thinking.
Few topics combine logic, creativity, problem solving, ingenuity, team work, collaboration as well as teaching coding.
As Steve Jobs say: “programming is good, because it teaches you how to think”
Technology changes every few months, but it is the processes and way of thinking that are important for kids to learn and that are driving future innovation.
Elephant Thoughts methodologies have been tested time and time again with thousands of First Nation students and proven that they accelerate learning and more importantly teach students how to learn and embrace a love of learning.