Teaching Computational Thinking
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This course is designed to show you how to teach computational thinking to children aged 7-12+. The course will be valuable to you, whether you are new to this approach or an enthusiastic practitioner. It offers ways to explore computational thinking using simple tools readily available in classrooms and homes, such as cards, chalk and scales to engage with students.
Based on the content in the popular open-source CS Unplugged website (csunplugged.org), this course demonstrates how to teach computational thinking from unplugged to plugging-it-in with programming.
Each module will weave in the following:
- Connections to apply CS Unplugged into classroom programmes by structuring the modules to have suitable activities that lead on from each other.
- An explanation of why we value computational thinking in the classroom
- What is the big picture around computational thinking (especially, what is computation, and how does it fit with all the definitions of computational thinking that teachers may encounter),
- The “so what” about each concept, how it connects to people, and where you see it in everyday life
- Stories of history – human connections
Tim Bell is a professor in the Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering at the University of Canterbury. His "Computer Science Unplugged'' project is being widely used internationally with the supporting materials having been translated into over 20 languages. Tim has received many awards for his work in computing education including the 2018 ACM SIGCSE Outstanding Contribution to Computer Science Education award. Since 2008 he has been actively involved in the design and deployment of the approach to the teaching of digital technologies in New Zealand schools. He also plays instruments that have black and white keys.
Tracy is a teacher who works with the University of Canterbury team on projects, resources and ways to teach computer science and computational thinking to primary school students. She has taught in many settings over her 20 years teaching and always co-constructs the resources with students.
Joanne is a teacher who got into coding and computer science by accident. She now works to ensure as many young people as possible can experience fun with programming, realise it is something they can do and even make a career out of, and it isn’t just for nerds. 2-3 days a week Joanne works in Māori immersion schools teaching programming in te reo Māori.