hackasaurus kitchen table (5-7 year olds)
The first event in this theme is the hackasaurus kitchen table (<-read this guide) event scheduled for the summer 2012. Over the next month they are running a beta of this event and have made a call out for testers. I have volunteered. My plan is to work with my two sons (Lucas and Kai, 6 and 5 years old) for half a day or more hacking the web... One thing I have learned in teaching kids and parents technology and hacking is you can't prepare enough. Parents often have fear and lack confidence in their tech skills and the kids just want to run free and build, build, build... managing this takes solid scaffolding. I am going to follow what has been provided on the Mozilla page and also use the following scaffolding and encourage other parents to use or alter this if they would like more detailed scaffolding.
In my mind there are three main phases to this event, each exists for pedagogical reasons;
- Preparation - setting up the space and preparing the participants
- The event - the actual kitchen table event needs to align with the preparation
- Deepen the learning - the brain retains more when people are reminded of things
preparation (few days before)
- I'm going to play with the hackasaurus toolset a couple of times, build some stuff, save some pages, understand how it all works.
- guess a few subjects my kids are going to want to explore, and mock up the event pretending to be my kids.
- maybe play with linking a picture from flickr, kinda think about what they may want to do.
- I'm going to talk to Lucas and Kai about what we are going to do a few days in advance. Show them what hackasaurus is, how it works and what we are going to do with it.
- ask them to think about what they would like to do... They are young, so I may need to seed this a bit. Maybe hack a polar bear site with some pictures of their teddy bears. Encourage them to think about things... get some excitement.
- Once you know some of their ideas, find some sites with clean simple HTML / CSS within their areas of interest.
- if you going to add a photo or drawing, make sure the kids have played with the camera, drawn a picture on the computer or scanned the image in.
preparation (event day)
- Feed the kids!
- Set up the kitchen table with all the technology (computers, camera, cabling, etc.).
- Make the space comfortable. Make sure it will allow for focus and concentration (lessen the distractions, I'm working with a 5 and 6 year old).
- play with the kids around their ideas, search for sites ask them questions about what they are thinking. The technology learning will be deeper if they anchor it in a subject they are passionate.
- find a site that you want to hack using x-ray goggles. hack it... show your kids what you are doing. Connect the ideas together, really explain the change(s). Ask them questions about what you have just done.
- get them to choose or find a site... help them search for things of interest that falls within their previous thinking about an idea. Even encourage them toward sites you now have simple HTML from what you found in your preparation.
- make the changes to the site they choose. Add pictures, change words, alter CSS... all good.
- Publish the changes, if the source code is simple enough. have a really basic look at it, particularly what they changed.
- make sure you have recorded the URLs of the published sites
- Have fun, play around, hack, iterate!
deepen the learning
I know with my kids, jumping straight into evaluating the event and contributing to the after the event questions will have to wait.
- celebrate all the great stuff you did as a family with technology at the kitchen table.
- suggest that the family all get together in a couple of days and look at what we did.
- using the recorded URLs of your published sites, return to your work after a few days (with the kids). Hack again if you want.
- proceed to answer the suggested after the event questions, do this with the kids. make sure they are engaged in the whole process. being reflective on everything is a great learning practice!