This summer as a Kenan Fellow at NC State University has been an exhilarating, humbling and freeing experience. I can not wait to bring everything I learned back to my “home” in the classroom.
The fellowship experience is exhilarating because we are getting paid to learn! I wake up each morning smiling because the the National Science Foundation thinks it is worth it to pay me to get smarter! How cool is that! My whole job as a Kenan Fellow is to figure out cool ways to connect STEM in schools with STEM in the real world.
The fellowship is also humbling because I am learning a new skill. While I took a coding class in college, that was a llloooonnnnng time ago. Learning is great, but it would be dishonest to say there have not been some frustrating moments. In order to program our Arduino Uno to use the Galvanic Skin Sensor accurately, we have had to practice and test it a lot to find the right range.
Which brings me to the freeing part of my time as a Kenan Fellowship. No matter how hard I practice while coding this summer, there is still so much more to learn! This means the real experts when it comes to coding in my classroom will be many of the students I work with at school! I am not expected to be an expert in coding. I am a facilitator and collaborator to keep students focused on completing the final product.The guide on the side of the classroom instead of the sage on the stage!
Becoming comfortable as a facilitator of learning is not a negative, but a positive as it is a great way to empower students and build relationships as I look to them for guidance on the technical aspects of coding for the One Health Challenge our students will participate in during the upcoming spring semester.