Among the many things the pandemic has made challenging, the focus on the newly minted computer science standards is certainly one of them. As you’ve had to tighten and condense your content, you might feel like computer science has been squeezed right out of your curricula.
While you may not be intentionally focused on teaching or integrating computer science, consider the authentic practice you’ve engaged in through the pandemic. Here’s a few ways to consider how you and your learners have used computer science during the pandemic.
Leveraging Technology Tools
The ability to create materials and knowledge using technology has become critical. You’ve become more reliant on technology as more of your instruction, learning, and assessment moved digital. You needed it to create and organize materials for your students. Maybe you’ve begun leveraging digital tools to make learning more meaningful and engaging for your learners?
Beyond being able to create using technology, you’ve learned how to become more efficient with technology processes. Maybe you’ve learned how to leverage learning management systems (like Canvas, Google Classroom or Schoology), online content providers (like Discovery Ed, Savaas, or Edgenuity) and communication platforms (like Zoom, Flipgrid, Loom, Remind, or Class Dojo) to make learning more accessible to your learners and more manageable for yourself?
Understanding Technical Issues and Complex Problems
You’ve gained a deeper understanding of how your equipment and networks impact hybrid and remote learning. You’ve had to consider technical issues like wi-fi, networks, audio, video, software and hardware in a way that you may not have needed before. You may even be tackling these issues from home and needing to research ways to solve your problems with limited help from your school’s overwhelmed technology teams.
Even if you haven’t had to move much instruction to digital environments, you’ve had to understand the complex health challenges that have come along with the pandemic. You’ve probably used computational thinking skills to tackle complex logistical challenges like maximizing your learning space while maintaining health regulations and shifting transitions to limit or track exposures.
Appreciation for Diversity and Equity
At some point during the pandemic, it’s likely that you’ve delivered content to learners in their homes (instead of them coming to you to learn). Through this you may have gained new insight on their home lives. You have undoubtedly gained a new appreciation for the role that families play in education or even gained understanding for different cultural practices that are practiced outside of our school walls.
You’ve also learned a lot about equity and your relationship to it. Beyond working through device and internet access issues, you may have experienced how some online learning expectations and requirements can quickly exacerbate problems with equity.
Mental Health and Well-Being
Lastly, as you’ve spent more time in front of screens teaching, planning, learning, and collaborating, you’ve seen a greater need to pay attention to mental health, both that of your learners and yourself. You may have practiced intentional well-being strategies to balance the effects of increased time working, especially on the computer.
Whatever your experiences have been through the pandemic, it’s very likely that your computer science knowledge and skills have been important and possibly grown, and so have your students. Many of these skills can be linked directly to some of the Michigan K-12 Computer Science Standards.
In sight of the pandemic, these are a few of the reasons why computer science continues to be important for our learners and our educators no matter the learning scenario. Why do you think teaching computer science is important?
Take the Challenge
April 22nd will mark the launch of the new Kent ISD Computer Science Network which is focused on bringing together educators who share a common interest in bringing computer science skills into their classrooms. To increase awareness of computer science and this network, we’re hoping you’ll join us in sharing why you think we should teach computer science.
Here’s how you can take part:
- Get a copy of the “Computer science needs to be taught because…” card. Available as a printable PDF or an editable Google Slide.
- Write, type, or draw why you think computer science needs to be taught on the card.
- Take a selfie of you with your card.
- Share it with #teachCS on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
- Tag or challenge a friend to do the same.
Here’s a few examples from our team
Need a little help sorting through your reasons? CS4All has created CS Visions Activity Cards that may help you begin thinking about why computer science is important to you. Check them out and feel free to use them with your colleagues and learners.
Thank you for helping us raise awareness about computer science. Please join us at the launch of the Kent ISD Computer Science Network on April 22 from 3:00-4:30.
#ComputerScience #WeLeadLearning #KentISDpd
This blog post was written by Keith Tramper, Educational Technology Consultant for Kent ISD and edited by Amanda Walma, Professional Development Coordinator and Sara Sefcik, PD Hub Intern.