Wednesday, March 30, 2016

3 Steps to Becoming a Coding Teacher

An example of a coding game, The Foos, taken by me.

3 Steps:

1. Curate Your Curriculum

Use resources that are already available on the web, don't bother developing your own

2. Prepare Yourself and Your Classroom

Consider:
  • Learning expectations for students
  • Differences between learning computational thinking, computer science, and computer programming
  • Classroom layout
  • Students working at their own pace or your pace
  • Working through a curriculum or project based
  • Students collaborating
  • Students sharing work with you, peers and the world
  • Managing student accounts
  • Why learning to code is important
  • Assessing your students

3. Get Support

  • Find a champion
  • Get community involved
  • Build PLN
  • Present to board 
My thoughts:
I didn't realize becoming a coding teacher could be so easily broken down into 3 steps! However, I must ask - is every teacher in every subject area meant to become a coding teacher? Are more teachers better suited for coding than others? As a future middle or high school English language arts teacher, I am unsure how coding would be incorporated into my curriculum. I suppose some consider coding a "language," but I do not think it fits in with the English standards for the Iowa Code. I like the idea of students learning to code, but in reality, it is hard for me to imagine ever providing this experience for my students. I think it would work much better in an elementary school setting or a technology class.

During our class time, I enjoyed playing coding games such as "Scratch" and "The Foos." I think the version of Scratch that is available on computers is more sophisticated and better suited for high school students than the app version of Scratch. The Foos game is designed for kindergarten through third grade students, so I definitely do not see this one being used in the high school setting. As a high school teacher, it is a little frustrating to me that most of the coding apps we looked at on the iPads are for elementary students... If I'm teaching in 1-1 school with iPads, how will I know which apps are available for high school students? In addition, I believe it would have been beneficial for our class to take a visit to Cedar Falls High School to see what technology they have implemented there instead of only visiting Lincoln Elementary. Are there coding teachers at Cedar Falls High School, or does every teacher know how to code? What apps do they use to help students? These are questions I hope to investigate if I ever have a field experience at CF High School.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Lincoln Elementary

Lincoln Elementary

Number of students: 595
Grades: K-6
Sections: 26

Services offered: Lincoln Elementary offers onsite speech therapy, Title I reading services, three dedicated resource instructors (co-teaching), music, art, physical education, library, guidance instruction, orchestra and band programs/lessons, Talented and Gifted program, and a health office.

... Nothing about technology is mentioned in these services. Do students take a typing/computing class? How is technology incorporated here?

Lincoln PALS

Lincoln Elementary Facebook Page
356 likes

Lincoln Elementary Twitter
79 Followers, 262 Tweets 

Not a strong digital presence.