The Good, the Great, and the Mind-Blowing - CSTA 2018
Beyond “Just Programming:” Using Agile Methods for Authentic Learning presented by Jennifer Manly: This session was one of my favorites not only because of the content, but also because of the enthusiasm with which it was presented and the opportunity for hands-on learning. Jennifer shared the benefits of using a version of the Agile Method with students working on group projects and gave us an opportunity to try it ourselves. I learned that:
- the Agile Method (used in the real world by tech companies), is not complicated to implement.
- it builds communication and collaboration skills while helping students take responsibility for their work.
- it can be applied to any content area.
- it provides students with a daily opportunity to reflect and adjust as they work together to accomplish a task.
- The Orange Game - a collaborative unplugged activity that can be used to demonstrate Internet routing.
- An article titled The Flexibility of Computational Thinking that shows ways to integrate computational thinking into curriculum.
- Activity kits that include unplugged, physical computing, and block programming challenges. Click here for a list of materials (the presenters will be adding additional links/information to this document soon.)
- Best of One - a Rock, Paper, Scissors tournament that could be a great way to kick off a lesson for programming the game. To play, everyone in the class finds a partner and plays a single round of Rock, Paper, Scissors. The winner goes on to play another student, and the loser’s job is to cheer for the winner in all subsequent games. Within about 3 minutes you will have a class champ. (Directing the losing student to cheer for the winning student ensures that all participate and builds classroom community.)
- Snowball - A fun way for students/teachers to share ideas with one another. Students jot down two ideas on separate pieces of paper. (In our case, we wrote down 2 ways we might use CS First). Crumple up each paper into a separate"snowball", then when everyone is ready, have a silent snowball fight. After a minute or so, everyone gets 2 snowballs back and reads the ideas others had.
- Computer Science + Literacy Session Resources - This workshop has a ton of great resources linked to their presentation. I didn't attend in person, but found some great things on their link, including book lists that can be used with students to teach CS concepts.
- Reflecting on the Quality of CS Instruction - Another presentation I missed, but Bryan Twarek generously shared the website link with me. He and his colleagues created a great looking rubric that teachers can use to evaluate their CS teaching practice.
- Classroom Poster using algorithms to show class expectations.
- Micromag - The unofficial Micro:bit magazine. If you haven't heard of Micro:bit, check out their website. It's essentially a $15 piece of hardware that students can program to do a ton of different things.
- More awesome Classroom Posters
- A breakdown of the pros and cons of 5 physical computing devices, presented by Blake Matthews & Bobby Thompson at What the Heck is Physical Computing: 5 Tools for Powerful Student Engagement
- University of Nebraska provided resources for building your own Computational Thinking bins and soon will also have resources for creating CS themed break-out boxes. If you live anywhere near the University, they also offer a lending library of physical computing devices (robots, Arduino, Little Bits, etc.), breakout box activities, and CT bins!