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Ready to play a role in bringing Computer Science education to all students? In these sessions, participants will learn how to use project-based learning to deliver effective, authentic Computer Science instruction across grade levels and contexts. Participants will leverage their existing expertise to develop projects that engage students in Computer Science and teach them 21st century skills such as collaboration and problem solving alongside practical computational thinking and programming skills. No expertise in programming is necessary to participate.
Too often in K-12 (and adult) education, Computer Science and coding are thought of as technical skills, which means that often instruction centers on memorization, repetition, and tactics. Instead we believe that Computer Science and coding are great vehicles for teaching key 21st century skills such as critical thinking, collaboration, and creativity. With a project-based approach, CS instruction comes alive for students while teaching real-world skills. In this course we will review how to integrate project-based learning into CS/coding instruction with a focus on authentic learning and engineering principles.
On the job, computer scientists and programmers work as part of a team to plan, develop, and launch their products. In this context, they must know how to consider the diverse perspectives of teammates and outside stakeholders, and weight them as much as their own. This course identifies the practices of collaboration and inclusion that are integral to meaningful computer science and coding education, how teachers can implement those practices in instruction, and the implications these practices have beyond the computer science and coding world.
At the core of computer science instruction is production. Based on age and skill, students produce artifacts (code, programs, etc.) of increasing scope and complexity. The problems that these artifacts seek to address should increase in complexity as well – for example, younger learners will develop artifacts that help them solve problems they face in class, while older learners will address larger societal problems. This course helps participants develop projects that require students to develop meaningful, age-appropriate artifacts. Participants will also learn best practices for assessing artifacts like rubrics and peer-reviews.
The ability to discern patterns and identify commonalities between concepts is an important skill across subjects and academic contexts. But knowing how to leverage those patterns and commonalities to reduce complexity (abstractions) is key to CS instruction. This course helps participants develop practices and projects that encourage students to use abstractions whenever possible. Teachers will learn about key practices including teaching students how to identify common features among multiple ideas or modules, use modeling, and develop solutions that apply in different contexts.
Computer Science does not exist in a vacuum in the real world, and neither should it in schools. We believe the most effective Computer Science education brings together disciplines whether it be math, literacy, history, art, and/or science. In this course, participants will learn how to incorporate topics and materials from other disciplines into Computer Science PBLs.
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