If you are a teacher and would like to share your NCLab experience with others, please join the NCLab community at Edmodo – here is the join URL. See you there!
Many written testimonials can be found here and you can also watch some videos.
Below you will find some unedited emails from our teachers, posted with their permission. We hope that this helps others.
NCLab Team: How does your Karel course go?
Jan Walker from White Pine Middle School (Ely, NV):
“All is good. My students that have given the course any effort are wanting to stay in the class longer and keep working on it. I guess it is like the recreation theory that says “always leave them wanting more.” But over all there are also students that complain when anything is challenging and I tell them they are more than they know and capable of doing hard things (this is even painted on my wall). Some want to give up and they run to a friend that is doing well to get “help”. On the other hand, others start really enjoying the course when it gets more challenging and that is when it gets fun for them. I remember spending some time this summer working on the one called Last Chance. I was surprised to see the hint this time and felt it took a little bit away from the victory of solving it… But it was just about the right degree of hardness for my group of girls this time. In each class I have one or two that really don’t care, a few that are doing it because it is expected of them, and the rest gets excited and are pushing themselves and each other to find the “secret” or do it the best. It is just the nature of middle school students I think. Overall it gets fun when they are challenged. Then the little reward sound brings them to their feet with a triumphant display of victory.”
NCLab Team: What about the difficulty of the Karel course? Should we simplify it?
Rosie Laing (Hawthorne ES, Hawthorne, NV):
“You do not need to simplify the course, as I have seen yet. And about seven lessons per module seems good. The level of increased difficulty is good. I really think the design of the course is very good. No problems. Honestly, I am not having any real problems. I just went over the nesting structure of programming and how important it is, how to build the code one section at a time, how to use repeat, etc., and I do lots of one-on-one with my students. I just have one student finishing Last Chance today. I am walking them through it. We will finish Yellow Belt 3rd degree, probably next week. After that, it will be optional. It’s ok if students have to stretch their brains. They should do it more, and more often as far as I am concerned. We all work with the students we have, I know my students, their frustration comes as quickly and easily as it goes away. After I complete the Yellow Belt, I will have some time to reflect and offer input. I am enjoying programming in this way with my students very much, and the majority of my students are liking it too.”
Jeremy Elsmore (Mineral County SD) about his NCLab clubs:
“I am very impressed with NCLab. The NCLab clubs I have set up at Schurz Elementary and Hawthorne Elementary have been very successful. The students are very excited about learning how to write code and are progressing through the program very well. At first it was hard to get students to sign up. I had club members stand up and share what they were doing in NClab and it has increase our numbers by double. It is great that you have given us the ability to teach the students in our district these valuable skills. This gets me very excited about the possibilities for the students in Mineral County.”