Serious fun, hacking and discoveries - get started with programming education in Let Me Hack It!

How to approach programming from a cross-curricular angle, by making use of arts, crafts and open cultural resources? What’s the skill level needed before you can make concrete and meaningful things by programming? Is it even possible to learn creativity online?

Mehackit has created a 7-week online training for Finnish primary and secondary school teachers, which is funded by the National Agency for Education. The participants complete a track of programming exercises related to music, visual arts or electronics. A key part of the course consists of getting acquainted with maker culture and the different aspects of the creative work process.

These themes are covered in Let Me Hack It while getting familiar with creative technology

These themes are covered in Let Me Hack It while getting familiar with creative technology

The first Let Me Hack It course run took place in spring 2019 with 400 Finnish teachers signed up and it was a great mix of playful experimentation, hacking and learning from others’ experiences. As a happy participant puts it: “When you get excited, you learn. I experienced this first hand on the course: there was the wow effect when something interesting happened, and it made me want to experiment further. I got immersed in making and it blew me away.”

The chance to apply one’s own ideas to coding exercises from the very beginning was important to the participants, and many teachers also found ways to try out real-world tools like user-centered design, prototyping and open source technologies and resources. In addition to coding and making, the teachers planned how to bring the new ideas and tools to the students, as well - quite a few even reported successful teaching experiments they had conducted while the course was still on.

It was a positive surprise that you could start making right away, not after studying tons of things and details.
— Math, physics & computer science teacher, participant in the first Let Me Hack It

Sanna Reponen, the course coordinator from Mehackit says: “Let Me Hack It is a unique teacher training even in Finland, where phenomena-based learning is an essential part of the national core curriculum. It’s not always easy to find the most sustainable ways to combine it with technology education.” And there were surprises in store for the Mehackit staff, as well. “I learned from the participants how to keep scissors super sharp, and that dog hair is excellent for dispersing LED light in art installations - all this while going through the basic concepts of programming!” Sanna laughs.

Candy machine by Suvi Airaksinen, LMHI participant

Candy machine by Suvi Airaksinen, LMHI participant

And what have the teachers created so far? Check out the soundscapes from the future, algorithmic music, interactive animations, poem generators, light art, toy hacks, owl-shaped security cameras and more!

The best part of the story is, you can take this training, too! The next round of Let Me Hack It in Finnish starts on Sep 2nd 2019, and its international premiere at Mehackit Atelier is already in December! Sign up in Atelier / suomenkieliselle kurssille

EnglishMiska Kulmala