Educators Co-design Workshop at the Beverley School


About 42 educators and staff participated in a Weavly Co-design workshop at the Beverley School during the PA day on Friday October 6th. Almost all participants had access to an iPad during the session and were able to use an unreleased version of the Weavly web app with the “Custom Background Design” feature.

After introducing the project and talking about the partnership between the IDRC and the Beverley school over the past 5 years, three facilitators from the IDRC provided a demo of the Weavly coding environment. The participants were grouped in pairs and had a chance to follow along and try different parts of Weavly. First, they customized the environment using the accessibility options. Then, they tried adding different action blocks to build a program and use the different scene options. Once they tried most of the Weavly features, they were given a coding challenge to use the loop control to draw a square. Some participants were able to complete the challenge independently and some required further support to complete the activity. Following this task, participants were introduced to the custom background design feature. Facilitators encouraged the groups to first sketch out a potential background for their students using pen and paper and then recreate that in the Weavly coding environment. Finally, participants were asked to discuss their experiences of using Weavly and fill out a worksheet to share how Weavly could be improved for them and their students.

Observed Challenges

  • Participants had difficulty anticipating the character movements as they were building their program
  • Some participants found the Forward and Backward arrows on the action blocks misleading. To them, they looked more like Right and Left rather than forward or backward movements
  • The direction of many Weavly characters was not clear
  • Interacting with the text input on the loop control was difficult on iPad as the cursor was in front of the number and the whole number wasn’t selected

General recommendations

  • Ability to create accounts to access all the projects they have worked on in one place, or to share a single account between multiple students
  • Add a preview mode to Weavly. Once a program block is added, the movement
  • Ability to connect to robots
  • Ability to undo the last actions
  • Being able to connect the AAC language to Weavly. For example “Go” makes the robot move
  • Add an option to enlarge the icons on the user interface
  • Add more motivating scene backgrounds related to the pop culture themes on TV/Internet for example Pokemon with a Pikachu character or Peppa Pig
  • Provide explanation about how Weavly could be used with joystick or eye gaze
  • Add eyes on characters to clearly point to a direction
  • Ability to add custom sounds for different action blocks
  • Turn Weavly into an application rather than a website

Recommendations specific to the Custom Background Design

  • Ability to upload pictures to be used as backgrounds, for example a picture of the classroom with specific parts of the picture such as desks marked as obstacles
  • Ability to choose characters, so that the character is not bound to the world
  • Ability to upload pictures to be used as characters, for example pictures of students
  • Offer pre-built custom backgrounds for different activities
  • Ability to paint multiple cells by dragging a finger on iPad similar to what we can do on desktop by dragging a mouse over several cells.
  • Add a way to reset the design in the custom background mode
  • Using numbers and alphabet letters as tiles in the design palette
  • Provide symbols in the custom design mode, such as stop sign icon