Kano - Innovators
Grades 3-8 | Technology Skills | Cloud-based
Leland Nunes is the the Technology Coordinator at St. John Vianney School in Rancho Cordova, California.
For the past three years, I’ve been hosting an after school club called Code Academy. We created a place where kids are safe, comfortable, can interact with their peers, create digital material and share it with both our community and the Scratch community.
When students sign up and come into the after school club, I register Scratch accounts for them with their parent’s email that they provide on their registration form. I coach parents on how to check up on their students.
I have thirty kids every Tuesday, and they love it. They love the atmosphere, the energy, the vibe. People would probably say I’m a pretty strict teacher, but in the afternoon, I let the kids be kids. I’ve tried sitting the kids down and modeling on the projector. I find that the kids are tired; they’ve been in class all day. They just want to come and play and explore. I have no objective other than providing a safe, nurturing environment for them to learn computational thinking, and to learn and acquire twenty-first century skills, and more importantly, workforce skills.
This year, I started talking with my principal about the materials Sunburst provided. We decided that we’re not going to have a Coding Academy next year. Instead, we want to have an after school Kano Club where students can learn computer science. We got twenty Kano Ultimates, twenty Pixel Kits, and twenty Motion Sensors. Each student is going to pay a total of $250 through the length of the club. There will be twenty open spots, with one of each device per child.
I’m going to have a parent night where the children receive their Kanos. I’m going to talk to the parents about their responsibility in maintaining Internet safety with their child. At the end of the year, mid-May, our club will come to a stop, and parents will decide whether they want to keep that Kano or not. If they want to keep it, we’re giving them a buyout option of $100. Once I know that, I’ll just resupply.
We’re doing computer science projects based primarily with the Kano Curriculum Guide. That’s going to be our starting point. It’s going to go all year, from August to the first or second week of May. We’ll meet four times per month, on average. Our sessions now are fifty minutes and are open to grades three through eight.
I chose Kano because I’m a computer hobbyist. I like tearing computers down, I like building computers. I owned my first computer in 1988. It was something called an IBM XT. I got interested in computers, including hard drives, adding memory and things like that. Then, I learned about the Apple computer. A very popular computer at that time was the Apple IIe and the Apple IIgs. Those computers are still sought after by hobbyists on eBay and similar sites. The thing that was so cool about those computers was that users could open them up and add parts and upgrade it. Those were the computers that put Apple on the map of the computer world. Now, they’re a worldwide powerhouse.
For hobbyists, there hasn’t been, in my opinion, a computer that is easily fixed, where you can access or swap parts since the Apple IIe. I’ve been reading about Kano for a couple years, and they’ve put everything together so that a very young child or inexperienced adult can be interested. It’s perfect for our school. The price point is perfect. Sunburst’s curriculum was a big part of that decision.
I’m in California in Catholic education and it’s all about relationships. Sunburst has been so helpful, helping us get our program off the ground. It’s a godsend, the relationship we’re making with Sunburst. We’re so delighted that we’ve acquired the Kanos. I’m looking to expand what we do and how we teach with many other educational tools offered by Sunburst to give the students hands-on, practical experience learning twenty-first century computer skills and computational thinking.