Why “EN(Engineering Notebook)” is essential fabric of teen entrepreneurship & K~12 coding classrooms📓
For your K-12 Coding Classrooms: Engineering Notebook
In your classroom, how can you measure student topic understanding? Have students understood the concept? Can they successfully code outside the classroom?
What is an Engineering Notebook?
Engineering notebook, developed in a Google Doc, allows students to organize their learnings and reflect on them. While capturing learning minutes for the week, students develop documentation each week on a topic to reflect on the learning or coding experience. Some of the topics include:
- What is your understanding of a given concept topic? For example: Understanding Arrays, Understanding Objects
- How did you implement a feature in your project? For example: How did you use grid templates to implement a sticky footer?
- What was the challenge you faced? For example: While adding a sidebar navigation to your project, what challenges did you face while integrating to your team members code? Are there any best practices that you have explored?
For educators, this is a neat way to assess student learnings. It allows us to pace our lesson plans accordingly and mentor students individually on their coding skills. Since you can only document a topic if you understand it well, it motivates students to ask questions and seek help. They may not write it in a coherent way, but it’s a great way to enforce the thought — why am I doing this in my code?
Writing may not be every student’s first choice. But, they do see the benefits of it. One of ACF students shared:
“Other teams must do this. If you forget something, we ask the teacher. Here, we have a page to look at and ask questions.”
As the project complexity grows, I observed that students felt more in control of the product as they had access to another resource. Their technical understanding grooms their confidence, increases classroom engagement and improves team dynamics.
Engineering Notebook: Some tips to get you started…
- If you are using Google Docs to manage your engineering notebook, use code blocks to manage the code formatting. It makes the content readable and usable.
- Google Docs → Add-ons → Search for Code Blocks→ Install → Apply
- Don’t ask students to go and write. Rather, you must add topics and assign owners.
- When not sure, pick a section of code and ask them to document it. This will get the conversation started.
- Documentation is challenging! Do the first few code descriptions in class.
- Encourage them to use w3schools explanations. They can only copy if they know what to copy.
- If you are not sure they have got it, give them a code sample and ask them to explain it.
- Sample Documentation:
- Pet Paradise Eng. Notebook:
Engineering Notebook in K12 Coding Classroom as Productivity Tool
I will be honest. For some coding seasons, I completely give this tool a miss. But I often see myself coming back to it to reiterate a concept, or share challenges of complex topics. So, how are you assessing your student learnings in your K-12 coding classrooms? Share your thoughts below.