This month at Thimble.io, we’re celebrating National Learning and Development Month, taking every opportunity to remember our “why”. Namely: why do we do what we do?
For many on our team, a big part of our ‘why’ is our Founder and CEO, Oscar! His story, passion and enthusiasm are contagious. His dedication to Thimble.io comes from his own school-days, where he would’ve done anything to be part of his Robotics Team. He reminds us of the existence of many kids just like him- eager to learn, but without a framework to do so. Like him, we strive to be life-long students. But we also share in a desire to foster the love of learning in others.
We delight in seeing members of this community come together; we work with Educators and students with all levels of coding experience, and love to troubleshoot new challenges together. While we’ve been doing this for a while, we know that there’s always more to learn when it comes to coding and technology. Part of what Learning and Development Month means to us is collectively working together to learn a new program- such as Arduino!
But all our efforts- parents, teachers, and Thimblers- are in the name of our students. We love their passion, their creativity, their ideas. Presenting their projects gives them an avenue through which to express their individuality- slowly but surely even the most timid of voices find their footing. We love to see students grow in confidence as they build, problem-solve, and share their inventions with others.
So, as the adults, we thought to ourselves: what can we do to deepen this experience for them? How can we really make a lasting impression, so that they’ll not only learn something new, but develop a passion, a skill, an identity? That’s where our content creator, Alexandra Brown, comes in.
Not only has our website and design undergone a big makeover, but so has the instructional content! Alex has created Coding and Engineering Challenges, written Career Explorer Guides, and included thought-provoking real-life applications at every turn! We’ve included a sneak preview of some of this material, but in the name of National Learning and Development Month, we’d like to hear from Alex herself on some of the thought processes that went into this!
“Thimble.io has always prioritized user experience in product development, and our latest updates take this commitment to a whole new level. I’m thrilled to announce the launch of the Creator Set Playground course curriculum! Building on the engaging projects that have made this kit a favorite, we’ve now transformed it into a versatile curriculum solution suitable for every classroom, camp, and various educational settings.”
The Creator Set Playground offers a plug-and-play library of 24 modules, designed for grades 4-12, requiring no prior knowledge. This comprehensive curriculum includes lessons, hands-on projects, coding challenges, and assessments. The library of modules also boasts diverse STEM career explorations and a variety of resources for instructors and students alike.
“As a former educator, I understand the need for adaptable content. We chose to design the Creator Set Playground in this manner because our core belief is accessibility and adaptability in education. The Creator Set Playground is a versatile, customizable resource, aligned with modern learning needs. Our goal is to equip educators and students with tools that ignite curiosity, nurture creativity, and develop essential problem-solving skills, empowering the next generation of innovators and changemakers.” -Alexandra Brown
We’re proud of our new LMS which features a way to measure and track student progress. The ability to measure learning outcomes is a gift, and it’s how we really understand whether or not our program is working to its desired effect. While we love hearing positive words from teachers and users of Thimble.io, student engagement is the only real way to measure the impact of our kits and curriculum.
Initially developed by Scott Doggett, of the Holiday Inn Club, Learning and Development Month has penetrated the culture of many companies and what it means to continue to learn well into adulthood. We believe that in order to be good educators, we ourselves must undergo a continual education. It’s not a cold interest that inspires students to learn, but an engaged, embodied passion. So how can you sharpen your own mind and reinvigorate your love for learning?
Here are a few ways that you can celebrate National Learning and Development Month:
- Organize workshops and seminars– The best way to teach is to learn, and the best way to learn is to teach! Share what you’ve learned with other educators as a way to test your knowledge, and compare and contrast experiences. You might discover a new and exciting way to present the same ideas, or you might discover new ideas altogether!
- Create fun activities– Take what you’ve learned, and put your own spin on it! We have included many prompts in our online curriculum, designed to help you and students think outside the box. The point of these is to stretch your imagination and get you thinking about real-world applications. But even if you’re not working with us yet, you can create your own! A good, thought-provoking activity comes from asking good questions.
- Get to know your kits, and Arduino– Part of why we don’t charge for teacher licenses is so that teachers feel they have the freedom to explore on their own. We have lots of resources on our new LMS for teachers to follow step-by-step: from getting the software running, to coding their first project, to slowly advancing through the difficulty levels of the kits. Have fun, and brag about your proficiency in C++ to your friends! And if it’s not Arduino you’re working with, just have fun, period!
- Ask for feedback– Ask your students what they think! Are they enjoying what you’re teaching them? Are they engaged and curious? Our students are our best judges, and they can tell us a lot about our own level of engagement with the material. Stay curious and open to feedback.
As we’re remembering our “why” at Thimble.io, ask yourself: what’s yours? Why is what you’re teaching relevant and important? Why is it worth learning?