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The Truth About Altino

Posted September 19, 2019 in Altino, Community Service, Ian Kitajima, STEM

It's not all about training coders. Altino is about inspiring the next generation of innovators, problem solvers, and technologists, and about creating a technology workforce in Hawai'i.

Research and developments in science often die in a laboratory without practical applications, but once a scientific breakthrough can be applied to solve a real-world problem, that's where the magic happens. It's gratifying to see the our work impacting so many different industries, but our most meaningful development work has been done with Hawaii's educational community. At Oceanit, we are privileged to work closely with the students, teachers, and groups from across our community, and Altino cars have been a big part of our involvement in the past several years. 

Our hope is to reach 5000 teachers by 2022 and work with them on computer science skills that can be built into our state's classrooms and lesson plans. The ripple effect will be to reach all of our students with not only CS skills, but problem solving and critical thinking skills. Altino builds those skills through a haptic prop: a car. Everyone knows how a car should drive, steer, and accelerate, and beucase of this ubiquitous understanding, we have an opportunity to show how coding can be used as a language of problem solving.

Oceanit has reached hundreds of teachers over the past couple years as we have taken Altino on the road to complexes around the state. This also means we receive truly meaningful feedback, proving we are helping make a significant impact. This real, honest feedback from one of our trusted educational partners is one such commentary. 

My thoughts about using Altino Cars

Sept 2019

By D.S., Librarian, Salt Lake Elementary

Giving students the opportunity to work with the Altino Cars goes way beyond just coding and programming. I have seen firsthand how all the other kinds of learning becomes a part of their process. First of all, it’s important to state that the capabilities of these cars enables a range of learners to be exposed to the world of coding and programming - from the beginning programmer to high school and maybe even beyond. The real life applications are only limited by the mind of the person designing/structuring the learning.

Students have to use math skills to convert parameters and when we asked students how they came to their answers, we found they came to their answers in different ways - promoting flexibility in how they manipulate numbers.

Most importantly, programming with these cars have really forced our students to develop a growth mindset simply because the cars are so highly engaging. All too often in education, we don’t want to see our students struggle and become frustrated so we don’t allow them to experience that feeling and learn what it’s like to push through and feel accomplished. Yet, we expect them to learn perseverance, persistence and develop grit. Those things cannot be developed if learning opportunities are not designed to let them struggle a little. It’s a beautiful thing to watch kids become frustrated or challenged but persevere because they know that is the only way they can get to what they desire, which is to test it out with the car. And it becomes even more impactful when they realize they can do it. It just may take numerous tries. It teaches them there really is no such thing as failure. “Failure” is just getting them that much closer to being successful. Our kids have had to learn to work with others, compromise their thinking sometimes, communicate with others and very importantly to be deliberate and precise. They have to solve a problem which is what I feel is at the core of coding and programming in real life. I’ve talked to them about where we see coding and programming in real life but they just see the end results. This is teaching them what’s behind it and what had to be done to “get there.” Someone had to code/program it. Someone had to observe or communicate with others to develop it. Someone had to discover there was a problem or think that something could be done better or more efficiently. Allowing students the opportunity to work with these cars have really opened their eyes to the world of programming but more importantly have taught them other things that will carry over into everything they do in the real world in order to be successful at life. I live to witness these moments. It is why I became an educator.

If you want to learn more about the Altino program or about summer Altino Training cohorts for teachers, which earn PDE3 credits, please click here.