Building Computational Thinking Brains … If you care about jobs and the economy, you should care about computer science education…. Computers Control the World. But, who controls the computers? Computer Scientists!
Bee-Bots on the march again. Joining other insects for a day of STEM with Code Ninjas. There were lots of bugs. Not one child or parent who coded the Bee-Bots did it “right” the first time. There was lots of debugging going on. And discovering what was right, what challenge they wanted to tackle. My challenge was trying to get the parents to let their child figure out the solution without hoovering and telling them what was right. I wanted to say, please be a fly on the wall. But that was not my place, my place was to answer questions and encourage learners to JUST DO IT AGAIN.
The Creation of a Bug Dance inspired by this book (which disappeared and I hope will be read by the new owner) … need an aspiring film producer to link the takes together and share the underlying message. See CodeMathTeks for more dance videos.
After 4 tries, attracted another learning bug. They would have worked another hour to get their dance right, but alas time was out and they needed to move on. Maybe in an after-school coding club they can come together again.
What pathway will be inspired by bugs. This is my little butterfly growing in my garden. The future, Mia’s Bug Dance. Watch for that film.
Starts by creating a binary bracelet like CEO of Girl Scouts. CBS This Morning had an amazing segment with CEO of Girl Scouts who shares the path to the stars I would like for every child. If only every school would start on the path of eliminating multiple choice testing and B&W worksheets and replace with badges like scouting.
And need teachers who are valued for giving their all … Started with a simple conversation on a plane. And a person who listened and took action.
“One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.”
OUR CHOICES DEFINE US … Deciding which path to take … NOT ABILITIES A choice to work hard! … Help students to make the right choice, to listen, to work, to study, to have the self-discipline to take responsibility for their education. …
No one yet has written out a full, coherent K–12 curriculum built around a foundational framework. The K–12 CS Framework and the CSTA standards have laid out concepts, practices, and performance expectations but how do these things get manifested in curriculum and activities and experiences in K–12? That is a huge problem in computer science right now that directly affects implementation. (Yongpradit, 2017) – page 16 CSEd Google Report.
Education is always instantiated by teachers, so attention to pedagogy, teacher support, and the complex dynamics of adopting new curricula is crucial… Teachers are the linchpin in any effort to implement and change CSEd and so the preparation, effective development, and retention of CSEd teachers need to be prioritized… programs must also provide teachers with time to learn and practice inclusive CS pedagogies.
Decide on the kind of preparation and development teachers receive
Ensure teachers are prepared and supported
Develop integrated systems of teacher certification, training programs, and professional incentives
Provide high-quality teacher preparation and induction models focused on inclusive CS pedagogical content knowledge
To truly support implementation of CSEd, the preparation, effective development, and retention of CSEd teachers will need to be prioritized.
It is not enough to expose teachers to CS content. Teachers need time to practice inclusive CS and these pedagogies should be interwoven into the entire teacher preparation
CSEd should be a stable, academically valued, and well-funded enterprise. As Guzdial (2017) pointed out, the number of CSEd graduate students in the U.S. is very small (previously estimated around 20). What about YOU being #21? … the content of CS itself changes more frequently than that of other disciplines. A more productive path would be to bring together educators and researchers with diverse perspectives to create a paradigm that reflects the uniqueness of CSEd and supports a long-term research program.
Given the scope and complexity of demands placed on them, interdisciplinary and inter-sector partnerships between public schools, universities, researchers, and industry will play a pivotal role in meeting the aforementioned objective. I sure hope the teachers are a major player in this partnership.
… as our world becomes more technological and digital, and equitable participation requires CS fluency. This makes CSEd necessary in K–8 not just as an elective subject, but as a mandatory topic. There is no question anymore about the importance of CSEd, its place and need in public education, but there are differing opinions on why and how it should be done. Among the most prominent rationales for increasing access to CSEd is that it can serve as a foundational literacy upon which other knowledge/activities can be built, and as a powerful context for profound, authentic, and interdisciplinary learning in other subjects. CSEd can serve as an expressive, creative medium to allow young learners to express ideas in ways that are socially and culturally relevant, and also a valuable tool for civic and political participation.
Rationales for CSEd:
The labor market rationale – data science and artificial intelligence becoming mainstream fields relevant across many industries
The computational thinking rationale – ability to use abstractions and pattern recognition to represent problems in new ways, to break down problems into smaller parts, and to employ algorithmic thinking.
The computational literacy rationale – makes it possible for people to express themselves in new ways, and changes how people accomplish cognitive tasks. Achieving computational literacy means that people can read and write with computation, which includes an ability to read and write computer programs.
The equity of participation rationale – Students excluded from CSEd may struggle to fully participate in 21st century society along multiple dimensions. Not only will the best and most creative jobs require CS knowledge, but our cognitive capabilities to solve problems will be limited by our inability to utilize computation fully. Students who do not fully understand these issues risk being more easily manipulated as consumers, voters, and citizens, and more vulnerable to cybercrime. They also are less likely to have access to leadership positions and high-status jobs, and are more likely to be on the sidelines of future societal change.
Making these four rationales explicit is important because they drive the way we write curricula, train teachers, and implement CSEd in schools. Awareness about these different viewpoints—and the ways they are similar, dissimilar, complementary, and compatible—must be addressed (e.g., Buechley, 2017; Resnick, 2017).
There are very few subjects in which students feel like they can make a change in the world and they can express their independent selves. I think their ability to make their own games, make their own art, make them in ways that are shareable with code, is really powerful. [Instead of giving students the right answer] it is better to create safe spaces to fail, to play, to tinker…This is where you get the bang for the buck. That’s where the learning happens. Another truism of education is that things are driven by the ways that they are assessed. If you assess people for knowing this or that keyword, then that’s what you’re going to get and that’s not particularly valuable, but if you assess people on their ability to teach each other complex concepts, that’s what you’re going to get. (Berland, 2017) …. Example – UK Project Quantum
I attended the Financial Mentors of America Educator Summit because I was curious about how they implement their curriculum. I discovered that their focus is creating questions that learners discover the answers to. Those learners are given a card with a team and role when they enter class. Since the answer to what Curiosity discovered can easily be found on Internet, the teacher does not need to provide the answer. The teacher needs to plant the focus and questions. In Real Life Financial Math (RLFM) videos are embedded in the lessons to drive the curiosity. Conversation follows in teams to build learning. This should be the model in all classrooms.
That is the flip that needs to happen in all schools. Students, I call on you to time how long your teachers talk. And how much time is spent on testing and completing individual worksheets. Determine the percent at the end of the week on time you spent collaborating with other students. Then look at each subject and see if you learned more, discovered new interests, and had more fun in interactive classrooms.
In RLPF Unit 2.4 Explore – Beyond Survival students discussed the difference between wants and needs. At the end of this I moved from “I want my grandson to be able to take he Game of Real Life at MHS” to “I need my grandson to take RLPF at MHS.” He is embarking on a 2 week trip to Spain inspired by his Spanish teacher in a class his mother made him take to get ahead in high school. Go figure, spending 2 weeks taking immersion classes in Spain, when I thought his only passions were basketball and video games. I wonder what other pathways he might go down by discovering new things he might be curious about in RLPF.
Joanna of Mount Carmel Academy in New Orleans whose passion is to bring coding to her girls. Small world, we met at ISTE when waiting in line. To think I went to elementary school named Mount Carmel in Houston.
And as we build community I know that there are many kinds of tea. Just have to find the ones who share the Memorial Way. As a 1966 graduate of Memorial High School and grandmother of a current student, I will do everything I can to bring CS to All.
If we wish to predict the future of machine learning, all we need to do is identify ways in which people learn but computers don’t, yet … time for research on how computers might also learn from conversations with human instructors – Tom M. Mitchell, Carnegie Mellon University
What knowledge, skills and mindsets you think a teacher needs to be able to design, facilitate and assess learning and help their students meet the CS standards?
What resources would you like to see developed to assist teachers in understanding and applying the standards?
Innovative Designer – Students use a variety of technologies within a design process to identify and solve problems by creating new, useful or imaginative solutions. Students: a. know and use a deliberate design process for generating ideas, testing theories, creating innovative artifacts or solving authentic problems. b. select and use digital tools to plan and manage a design process that considers design constraints and calculated risks. c. develop, test and refine prototypes as part of a cyclical design process. d. exhibit a tolerance for ambiguity, perseverance and the capacity to work with open-ended problems.
Computational Thinker – Students develop and employ strategies for understanding and solving problems in ways that leverage the power of technological methods to develop and test solutions. Students: a. formulate problem definitions suited for technology-assisted methods such as data analysis, abstract models and algorithmic thinking in exploring and finding solutions. b. collect data or identify relevant data sets, use digital tools to analyze them, and represent data in various ways to facilitate problem-solving and decision-making. c. break problems into component parts, extract key information, and develop descriptive models to understand complex systems or facilitate problem-solving. d. understand how automation works and use algorithmic thinking to develop a sequence of steps to create and test automated solutions.
Members: Nicole Beeman-Cadwallader, Snehal Bhatka, Josh Caldwell, Joe Kmoch, Karen North, Dr. Anne Ottenbreit-Leftwich, Dr. Helen Padgett, Dr. Youwen Ouyang, Tammie Schrader, Darshell Silva, Dr. Mano Talaiver, Dr. Aman Yadav
Core Team: Octavia Abell, Desiree Harpel, Kim Hermans, Carolyn Sykora
1997 Article by Dr. Mae Jemison “We’re not in this to win gold medals in science and math: “Let us make the commitment to curriculum reform, not standards so students score well on a test, but real reform – bringing a hands-on, minds-on curriculum that develops the critical thinking, problem-solivng and teamwork skills needed.” This was 20 years ago …
On Science Friday this segment talked about why finding this Neanderthal art was important. Why – it showed that these early human could think symbolically, think abstractly. It is this thinking that separates us from other animals. I am sitting here thinking and drinking a cup of coffee out of my Einstein mug that says “Logic will get you from A to B, but imagination will get you everywhere.” That is why we need art and computer science on the same pathway. Computer Science is a way out of poverty. It sparks the imagination. It helps kids build their brains for the future.
In the ISTE Digital Equity in Computer Science Webinar the leaders said “It takes a creative teacher to make the connection to integrate CS into their content area.” My solution – ART TEACHERS – who are intrinsically creative. Thank you for walking into this computational thinking world!