Our school is a large, diverse, elementary school. Families come from over 50 different countries and speak about 14 different languages. The focus on positive behavior and responsibility is reflected in the students’ enthusiasm when they come to school in the morning and the ownership many of them take of their learning by participating in music lessons and clubs as diverse as chess, coding, drama, and running.
My students, like most students in elementary school, are curious, energetic, and eager to create.
In my role as a technology teacher I see students who want to interact with the world, who love to play games, and react to online content but who also want to express themselves, interact with peers, and find meaningful ways to use their imaginations as well as all the information they have at their fingertips.
I believe my students feel most successful (and I know I do), when I step back and serve as a guide; when I help troubleshoot, rather than giving them step by step directions. The students thrive when they are told to try, revise and try some more to create a product, regardless of how imperfect, which is uniquely their own.
Computer science allows my students to be challenged, curious and creative. It gives them a way to channel their energy, express their individuality and provides an additional way to represent their learning and themselves. I have seen how engaged students are when they are given the challenge to create something of their own. Usually what they demand of themselves is far more difficult than what I would ask of them; it requires them to learn (usually by teaching themselves) a myriad of new skills and/or concepts, both in computer science and in other curricular areas.
Introducing computer science in elementary school allows all students, regardless of gender, ethnicity, race, class, or academic achievement, to see the potential of computer science and the power of technology in today’s world.
Regardless of whether or not they pursue computer science as they continue their schooling, they become literate in the language of computers, which is as essential today as reading and math literacy.
The KCI course appeals to me because I would like to strengthen my own computer science knowledge and be able to challenge my older students as they get more proficient in computer programming. It will give me the comfort (and push) to teach Python in addition to Scratch. I find that students enjoy using coding with physical objects as well and the KCI course will also allow me to learn more about coding with the Microbit. The KCI course will complement the courses I have taken in early childhood technology and the experience I have had using Scratch Jr. with students in primary grades and Scratch with students in upper elementary grades.
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