- Computer science is an important skill in our society
- The demand for people with CS skills is greater than the number of graduates
- We can address this by teaching computational thinking (see this seminal article)
- Computational thinking is as important as literacy and numeracy
- Google has done a lot of work defining what computational thinking is, and how we can teach it
- The core of their definition is Abstraction: the ability to take a complex situation and reduce it to its important features
- Pattern recognition was the other key skill she discussed
- Combining these allows you to take a pattern-to-program approach to coding (at Google they have students code in python)
- Interestingly, for teaching purposes they also had students work on program-to-pattern problems: run numbers through commands and investigate patterns in the output data
Digital Technologies Update: ACARA Julie King
- Digital Technologies will form part of the Technologies stream along with Design and Technology
- Core of subject is around: Computational Thinking, Design Thinking and Systems Thinking
- Aim is take make students creators of technology, not just users.
- Will be taught F-8 to all students, and as an elective subject from Year 9.
- ACARA will be working closely with Scootle to produce resources for teachers
The future of education is: online, on-demand, mobile.
- Youtube is a powerful tool for scaling teaching and allowing students to control their consumption of his teaching content
- Doesn’t require a lot of know-how or equipment to get started
- Analytics helps him to data mine student learning activities
- However, lacks the personal touch. So Tisdell uses Google Hangouts to provide live webinars where he can respond and give feedback to students
- He has also written a large, free text book to accompany his Youtube channel
- Computational thinking does not require computers
- Foundational core skills (which can be very sophisticated) can be taught through simple and fun activities
- There are some excellent teaching resources through CS Unplugged and CS Field Guide
- Computation thinking and digital technologies should be embedded across the curriculum
- We can use new language and approaches (possible moving away from coding) as ways to engage with reluctant students
- Need new models of professional learning (primarily face-to-face and buddying) to help colleagues upskill
- Focus, as always, should be on good pedagogy
- Student-centered learning and project-based learning are important directions
- Transparency in syllabus design and providing student voice and choice
- School structures (logistical, administrative and even physical) need to change to facilitate, rather than impede these changes
- Open classrooms with observation as the norm helping teachers learn from each other
- Need to sell the message to get parents and communities on board
- Activity 1: Using “bit cards” to explore how numbers and letters are encoded in binary.
- Activity 2: Treasure Hunt (Finite state automaton)
Can be drawn for stopwatches, microwaves, DVRs, etc, etc
- Activity 4: Sorting Algorithms. Pairwise comparisons (select and sort).
Nick is an academic at Adelaide University, doing amazing things in the School of Computer Science. He is part of a team launching a new program with Google which will “help teachers encourage the next generation of students become the creators rather than consumers of digital technology”
- Scale of effort
Nick asked to consider where these things have come together for us. How did it work for you?
This is what our group put together:
Key take-home for me was encapsulated in the central diagram: PD should happen in classroom, to students and teachers at the same time! Great idea Phillip.
Why do computer science? Fun, change the world, be ready for the world.
Just the setup looks exciting. Can’t wait to have at it!