We are a Title I school which means our student population is economically disadvantaged. We have a diverse student body with the majority of students from Guyana, India, and the Dominican Republic. We have high expectations at our school, therefore our students are polite, work hard and participate in the arts. We are constantly using current technology tools to help our school community learn and communicate in a global network. I am excited to help my students build computational thinking skills while teaching computer science.
The Professional development I am applying for is called Coding as a Playground. This PD was designed by The DevTech group at Tufts University, led by Prof. Marina Umaschi Bers. They created both ScratchJr (in collaboration with Mitch Resnick’s group at the MIT Media Lab) and KIBO robotics, a robotic kit that can be programmed without screens or keyboards by connecting wooden blocks. They also developed a pedagogical approach, called “Coding as a Playground”, teaching strategies and materials to integrate programming with other areas of the early childhood curriculum, with a special focus on literacy, creative problem solving, arts and dance. I will experience this approach through hands-on projects and learn about coding and robotics in an early childhood classroom. I will explore how to both take advantage of ScratchJr and KIBO for helping children think in new logical ways, but also for collaborating and developing socio-emotional awareness. I will learn and have access to already existing curriculum, videos, and assessment materials; Develop and plan my own integrated curriculum materials; Have access to a set of program links and teaching resources at the K-2 level that includes on screen, tangible and unplugged activities. My students will benefit from what I learn from this professional development in many ways. My students will be exposed to robotics and programming at an early age while building critical thinking and problem-solving skills. They are going to become innovative thinkers while completing hands-on projects in an early childhood curriculum.
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