It’s that most wonderful time of the year…no, not Christmas, Computer Science Education Week!
As with Christmas, CSEd Week and the Hour of Code (Dec 5-11) light up the eyes of children everywhere as they jump into the serious play of computer science. Learn more at www.code.org.
I hope that you found your way to a classroom that’s engaged in the Hour of Code. (Find registered schools here). You might have seen kids helping Disney’s Moana with wayfinding, or building a world in Minecraft. We saw full engagement, deep excitement (“Look what I made the computer do!”) and even some signs–demonstrated without words–that deep learning is going on. Students tapped their spatial skills to reason out degrees and angles through gesture and pointing. You might have seen students reflect on failed attempts and change a sequence of commands. (They tear apart blockly code and reorganize.) You could hear learning, too. Students shared their Ahas and frustrations in equal measure. Classmates talked through sticky problems and arrived at solutions that no one mind could conjure. It’s amazing to watch how much pleasure they take in sharing their creations with one another. Most of all, we hope you enjoyed the spirit of the hour and imagine where this kind of serious fun might lead.
The intentions for the Hour of Code and for our new book are the same. Presently, too few young people are getting opportunities to learn computing and we want to change that. The aim isn’t to mass produce computer scientists (though that would be a nice side effect), but rather to help students become computational thinkers who, no matter what their adult endeavors, are better problem finders, problem posers and problem solvers. Because computing underpins every modern enterprise and innovation, everyone needs to think computationally to make sure the best solutions come to life.
We hope you enjoyed the Hour of Code, and keep it going! Kiki Prottsman and I have something for you–a book that will help even the most novice teacher feel motivated and ready to integrate computing into the school program. When Kiki and I began working on Computational Thinking and Coding for Every Student: The Teacher’s Getting-Started Guide, we chose CSEdWeek as a hard target for publication. We liked the idea that, in parallel with this big student event, teachers could likewise experience what it means to think computationally and learn computer science. Imagine where you and your students might go in the next year with all these good experiences under your belts. Lastly, please join us on the Companion Site for the book, which will be updated frequently with new resources and ideas for getting students coding and thinking like computer scientists.
All the best,
Jane Krauss, coauthor with Kiki Prottsman of Computational Thinking and Coding for Every Student: The Teacher’s Getting-Started Guide