Students need certain skills to survive and thrive in our digital world.
Problem solving. Critical thinking. Designing. Creating.
These are the skills that worksheets and busy work simply cannot provide.
But coding can.
The December #SquirrelsChat took a dive into the topic of coding as innovative educators shared strategy, real-world examples, advice, resources and more for teaching computer science. This chat focused on the first three practices of the K-12 Computer Science Framework.
Building an inclusive computing culture
Considering the needs of all students is essential to producing an inclusive computing culture. Start by involving all students and make coding part of everything they do. Build it into the curriculum, form computer science teams, create after-school clubs, etc. This allows all students to experience coding, incorporate it into what interests them and increase their enthusiasm about the topic.
A1: Invite other perspectives into the classroom! Technology makes it possible for students to interact with and gain insight from others from around the world #SquirrelsChat— Becky Shiring (@beckyshy) December 15, 2017
A1. I encourage CS activities in mainstream classrooms so that all students have a chance to experience them. I also make it a point to monitor who has a chance to share and answer questions and encourage all students. #squirrelschat— Angie Kalthoff (@mrskalthoff) December 15, 2017
A1: I work with all girls 13-18. We just introduced coding and have been trying to incorporate it into what interests them.— Amanda Henry (@shamrockblvd28) December 15, 2017
Collaboration in the classroom
Effective collaboration can lead to better computing outcomes in the classroom. Give students opportunities to work together, talk, build and create. Encourage leadership and team building by allowing students that have more experience to help and teach others.
A2: Being a newbie in CS, my Ss love to clollaborate solving problems in @codeorg they do pair programming too. SS were given a task to make a guide map. One student took pictures, one is working with the codes and the other for the digital sketch of the map #SquirrelsChat— Raymond Africa (@RaymondAfrica) December 15, 2017
A2: Collaboration is one of my favorite words. There are few things in this world that suffer from a dose of teamwork. I think it's vital to infuse collaboration in every aspect of your lesson so when you get to coding, it's a natural fit. #squirrelschat— Emily Carle Hafer (@emilycarle) December 15, 2017
A2: W/ all learners give them opportunities to work together, talk, build, & create #squirrelschat— Claudio Zavala (@ClaudioZavalaJr) December 15, 2017
A.2 Here is a lesson example of how we have many students using one Dash robot from @WonderWorkshop https://t.co/PVCyZ4Vvqd #squirrelschat #csk8 Working together can be a hard concept. Also, not always be right can be hard to navigate in 2nd primary grades. pic.twitter.com/ADkmr3uWHk— Angie Kalthoff (@mrskalthoff) December 15, 2017
Applying computational skills
Being able to recognize opportunities to apply computational thinking is a skill that is central to coding. Let’s take a look at a few real life applications from educators using this approach in the classroom.
A3: I would use examples of IFTTT. If you have en Echo in class Ss can practice programming lights or other devices #squirrelschat— Claudio Zavala (@ClaudioZavalaJr) December 15, 2017
Hour of Code
This year, 153,941 events registered for the Hour of Code. This global movement is a way of bringing awareness to coding and an introduction to computer science. Anyone can participate in and organize an Hour of Code event. Here are some first-hand experiences.
A4 I had parents & grandparents come in and let the Ss take the show. I had Scratch and https://t.co/g5fiWP3ye4 in the lab and in the LMC I had Dash, Dot, Osmo, Sphero, Robot Turtles, Code Masters, and the Green screen set up with CS week background #SquirrelsChat #lilTechies— Byron Gilliland (@byron_gilliland) December 15, 2017
A4: After series of coding lessons, my G9 Ss decided to put up a coding club. We call it “TechnoHub”. This year they organized the first #HourOfCode session to G6-8 students. I love seeing students sharing their knowledge to other students #SquirrelsChat pic.twitter.com/oU6yVJlBSY— Raymond Africa (@RaymondAfrica) December 15, 2017
Coding and computer science resources
There are many computer science resources, programs and applications that help educators jump into coding – Kodable, Minecraft and Code.org to name a few. Take some time to research the tools that make it easy to introduce concepts to students. Remember, start small!
Related reading: Are We Too Late for Computer Science?
A5: My favorite, and what actually got me interested in learning this stuff is the app Human Resource Machine from @TomorrowCorp It's super engaging, funny, and challenges each player at the appropriate level #SquirrelsChat— Becky Shiring (@beckyshy) December 15, 2017
How to bring computer science into the classroom
Implementing computer science into the classroom is daunting. Many educators don’t know where to start. A good place to begin is to connect with others, do research, don’t be afraid to ask students for help and jump in. Coding is fun, it’s everywhere and anyone can do it!
A6: Just try it! Even if you’re not a programmer you can learn along w/ the Ss #squirrelschat— Claudio Zavala (@ClaudioZavalaJr) December 15, 2017
A6: I think the biggest takeaway from tonight is that when you want to implement something like coding (or really anything new) -- start SMALL! No need to build Rome in a day. Start with a good foundation and build from there. #squirrelschat— Emily Carle Hafer (@emilycarle) December 15, 2017
A6: Try it yourself first. I NEVER would have thought about teaching computer science in a classroom until I started playing a game that used these concepts. I realized it's fun, it's everywhere, and anyone can do it! #SquirrelsChat— Becky Shiring (@beckyshy) December 15, 2017
A6: research and just do it! sometimes you just have to jump in and get wet! #SquirrelsChat— Amanda Henry (@shamrockblvd28) December 15, 2017
Want more great insight into the world of education?
Join #SquirrelsChat every first and third Thursday of the month starting in January 2018. You can stay up-to-date on topics, moderators and any time/date changes by following us on Twitter (@Squirrels).
Coming up on January 4: Tasks Before Apps with host Monica Burns.