Don't Blame the Messenger ...
... It's BACK TO SCHOOL TIME!
For many teachers, their immediate reaction to the dreaded phrase “Back to School” is something like this famous picture (one of a series, I recently found) by artist Edvard Munch:
Source: The Scream
(If this resonates with you, be sure to check out the full article at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Scream)
At Firia Labs, we “get it” (we really do!) and although we couldn’t stop summer from ending, we can at least have your back by offering up our (drumroll please)…
Firia Lab's Top 8+1 Tips for Back to School
Tip Number 1 - Take Inventory
Do you have enough CodeBots and/or CodeX for your expected class size?
Do all the units still have their USB cables?
Do you have enough batteries?
Some kits come with external sensors / speakers / LEDs - are all the parts still there?
To make that last bullet a little more specific - if you have JumpStart and/or Explorer kits, do you still have all of your:
Tip Number 2 - Restock as needed
Now that you know what is needed, head on over to firialabs.com and order whatever items were missing when you took inventory.
If you are short on funding, please be sure to check out our Donors Choose Guide and our Grant-Writing Guide.
Tip Number 3 - Make sure you have your Login Credentials
You should be able to login using the same credentials as before.
If you’re using the new CodeX or Virtual Robotics courses head over to sim.firialabs.com. For these products there is a shiny new License Portal, different from the one you may have used with previous products from Firia Labs.
See the following link for additional help with the new License Portal.
If you’re using Jumpstart or Python with Robots, go to make.firialabs.com to login with the same google account you used before. More help on that, and details on handing out share tokens to your class, can be found here.
Tip Number 4 - Go ahead and get your classroom(s) set up in the Teacher Dashboard
With your credentials in hand, head on over to the Teacher Dashboard and sign in
Unless you still need the data, you can go ahead and delete any previous classes
This will ensure all of your CodeSpace licenses are freed back up for reuse
Note this does NOT delete any student data or progress.
Next create your new class (or classes)
If you already have your roster(s), you can go ahead and enter your students while you are at it
Tip Number 5 - Update your Firmware
The engineering team at Firia Labs has had an entire summer to dream up new ideas - there is likely a software update for your products. Rather than tie up valuable classroom time downloading and installing updates into each unit in class, try to set aside some time in advance to do this. This way your students can hit the ground running.
We like to do these over coffee, or while binging on our favorite shows - it’s that easy to do! After you have updated one, it’s just the same process over and over.
Tip Number 6 - Refresh your memory AND see what's changed
Whenever possible, we at Firia Labs watch “real live students”(TM) using our curriculum, and when we notice common stumbling points and patterns, we try to incorporate that back into our curriculum.
So, it’s possible there have been updates to the lessons since you last saw them. Making a quick pass through the lessons will ensure you don’t get stumped by your students in class, plus it will increase your confidence. Besides that, it’s fun telling a computer what to do!
We do the same sort of iterative improvement with our Teacher’s Manuals, so those are worth a fresh look as well.
Can’t locate your Teacher’s Manual? Egads! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll fix you up.
Tip Number 7 - Re-engage with your peers
Rejoin the conversation at the On Fire With Firia group.
For those not familiar with this, On Fire With Firia is a PLN for educators who use CodeSpace to serve as a network for support or for those who want to learn more.
Tip Number 8 - Take care of your funding
Confirm that the plan that you submitted for the 22/23 school year is approved.
If you need to restock your inventory you can order from our website or we can provide you a quote.
Funding concerns can be alleviated. Please be sure to check out our Donors Choose Guide and our Grant-Writing Guide.
Bonus Tip - Plan ahead for what's next
In previous years did you use our JumpStart and Explorer kits for your introductory Python classes? If so, head on over to firialabs.com and take a look at CodeX, the new handheld computing platform on the block.
If you’ve tried our Virtual Robotics simulator or have used JumpStart or CodeX and are looking for a “moving experience” in robotics and coding, take a look at the original Firia Labs CodeBots. They’re the inspiration for the robots inside the simulator, and a great step-up in coding challenge from the CodeX and Jumpstart courses.
If industry recognized certifications for Python are an outcome for your students, take a look at our Virtual Robotics learning resources. Virtual Robotics is a good solution for distance learning.