January 30, 2019

ASB 2019: Adventure Begins


Written by: Arpita Bhattacharya

ASB 2019 DRG team

We started our adventure by sharing our stories and motivation to participate in the ASB project. Andy shared his personal journey of teaching in High School and notes from his students. His reflection inspired us to value what it meant to incite these young students to learn about technology, develop a sense of belonging (both for the students and the teacher), and meet expectations of students. Elena Agapie, who mentored the ASB group in 2018, also joined us. 

During the lens activity, each one of us sketched or wrote about our background and high-school experience, reason for being a part of the ASB project, and expectations from this experience. We have a few students who have lived or traveled around the world. Students shared being exposed to HCDE and Computer Science through different pathways including Engineering Discovery Days. We were brought together by the motivation and opportunity to guide younger students in pursuing college and inspire a career in coding.

We have four amazing students who are returning from last year’s ASB (Aylee, Jon, Melissa, and Noelle) and they are already taking on mentoring roles in the groups. Along with Elena and Andy, they shared fun and meaningful memories from Neah Bay workshops in 2018. 

We moved on to brainstorming a schedule for the DRG. Students split into four smaller groups to set milestones for themselves in the 10 weeks of the DRG. Our students will be designing a learning experience on physical computing for High School and Middle school students who have none to beginner level knowledge in coding. They will be teaching for 170 minutes in each class across 4-5 days during Spring Break. All groups wanted to do early practice sessions with local schools around week 6 or 7 so that they can pilot “user-testing”, incorporate feedback, and iterate without rushing. They also planned on sending out an early assignment for the students through the teachers to get a head-start before we get there (called the “week 0” assignment).

Figure 2. Students brainstorming milestones for each week of DRG in 4 groups.

Students then each received a Circuit Playground Express (CPE) board and started playing around with it on MakeCode (lot of beeping sounds and flashing pixels from the CPE!). It was great to see students helping each other out and sharing their ideas. We wrapped up with the homework assignments for the week: the students could choose from building an accessible thermometer or a pulse rate monitor. 







Figure 3. Students working together on setting up CPE and Make Code


I am proud to be a part of this team of creative and passionate students and am looking forward to see their ideas unfold into action.