CS Ed Week, 1:1 iPads, Schoology Discussions & Persuasion

For the last three years, the Hour of Code during #CSEdWeek has been a great impetus to push down resources/coding/kick start computer science in classrooms, especially when there isn’t a formal program in place. Last year during this time, I wrote about Computer Science week and a Makerspace.

This year, there was the added factor of 1:1 iPads. Now even though, the combination of iPads and the resources have come a long way, the high end user computer programming applications don’t quite work the way we might want them to. Some of the programs work well on an iPad browser for the most part but not completely. Several apps have been introduced in the last three years and the programming landscape for the K-3 grade age group has dramatically changed the last two years. Click here to get the website for the Barron Park Computer Science education week.

Given this aspect, the primary grades were able to work on age appropriate apps on their iPads. Also, the types and numbers of robots are varied and have altered the landscape of tangible computing for children with instant feedback. Robots not only enable students to get more engaged, motivated and bring programming to life, they are great for teamwork, constructive conversations and a wider range of thinking skills.

Here are a few ways in which the 1:1 iPad situation helped during coding.

  1. The directions, resources, step by step instructions were all uploaded onto Schoology for all grades from 2 through 5. The students were using a partner iPad or computer for coding while their directions were open on their iPad for them to work through.
  2. Like several other activities, students are reflecting through Schoology discussions at the end of their lessons. One such reflection for 4th graders was to respond to the following:

“Please answer the following using complete sentences.  Do you think Computer Science should be taught in school alongside reading, writing, math and science?  Support your answer with at least one detail.  Try to push your thinking with phrases like, “Another example is…,” or “The reason I say this is…””

Following are some of the responses. Need justification to introduce CS to your schools? Just go along with the following from the fourth graders:

“Yes, I think that coding should be taught in school now days, because the information sector of the economy has been booming.”

“Another reason to teach kids to code regularly is that any child can play a game, but teach the child to code, and they will not just play a video game, but they will make video games. Then they will not just make video games, but they will make the software of the future.”

“think that kids should be taught with computer science because It’s fun, and you learn something.”

“I think coding should be taught like everything else because it makes you learn like other stuff. Coding can also help you’re job in the future because you may choose to program computers for your job.”

“I do think that computer science should be taught at school because in the future people will be using computers a lot more. So I think it would be good to know how to use them. And it would be Even better to know how to code on them because you could get a lot of possible jobs that way in the future if you know how to code.”

“I think computer science should be at every school because it’s good for kids to learn how to do things on computer and IPads when the are young so they can do things on the iPads and computers in the future”

“I also think that coding is important because without coding, almost all of these electronics wouldn’t have existed.”

“I think computer science should be taught because it lets kids experience programming and play around with computers and robots. Learning to program is good, because in the future, you might make a new type of computer and you will have to program it! Another example is if you make or buy a robot that you have to program. Also, your computer might somehow get messed up and if you know computer science, you might know what’s wrong with it. This is why I think kids should be taught computer science!”

“Another reason to teach coding in class is that coding might be able to help with math skills by sharpening logical skills, and if you are curious about how this happens, consider this. To code is to write something that a computer can read or understand in some way. You must use logic skills to figure out how to code your idea, which improves them.”

And probably the most profound statement of them all…

“To add on, coding is a skill that unfortunately, many kids are not educated in coding. I believe that in the future there will be an even bigger gap in economic success that separates the people who can’t code from those who can, giving a tremendous economic advantage to those who can code”

Happy CS Ed Week all!

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