During CS Ed Week, countless teachers and students experienced computer science for the first time. Whether it was their first, second, or hundredth time, I hope that this taste of CS left them hungry for more. Code.org has created a great compilation of resources for how students can continue learning. In this post, I’d like to suggest some ideas for how teachers who are new(ish) to CS can go beyond the Hour of Code.
Take an online course
There are a number of excellent online learning opportunities designed specifically for educators. Some favorites (all free!) include:
- Computational Thinking for Educators from Google (15-30 hours)
- Introduction to Programming with Scratch in Education from University of Northern Iowa (20-30 hours)
- Teaching CS Fundamentals from Code.org (3-8 hours)
Read a book, blog, or magazine
If you prefer learning through reading, some great options are:
- Computational Thinking and Coding for Every Student by Jane Krauss & Kiki Prottsman (a guide for getting started with teaching CS)
- Hello World magazine from the Raspberry Pi Foundation (a magazine on computing and digital making for educators by educators)
- Computational Fairy Tales by Jeremy Kubica (computer science concepts explained through fairy tales)
- Stuck in the Shallow End by Jane Margolis & colleagues (a book that will deepen your understanding of racial equity in CS education)
Connect with other teachers
Meet other teachers in person. Don’t worry if you don’t have experience! Friendly and inclusive learning communities include:
- CSTA Chapter meetings
- Scratch educator meetups
Online communities include:
- CSforAllTeachers (a virtual community of practice, for all teachers from Pre-K through high school who are interested in teaching CS)
- ScratchEd (online community and resource sharing for educators who use the Scratch programming language)
- #csk8 Twitter chats (K-8 CS teachers chat about designated topics on the 1st & 3rd Wednesdays of each month at 5pm PT / 8pm ET)
Test out curriculum yourself
A great way to build your knowledge and skills is doing exactly what students would do and go through curriculum yourself. See Code.org’s comparisons of CS curricula by grade level:
If you want to spend less time, try some different Hour of Code tutorials.
Start a club
You don’t need to know CS in order to start a club. You can simply create the time and space for students to learn before or after school, or during lunch. Plus, there are several organizations that provide curriculum, and some can even provide volunteers to teach the content! Strong options include:
- CS First (grades 4-9)
- Girls Who Code clubs (grades 3-12)
- Technovation Challenge (grades 6-12)
Dabble in the classroom
Don’t stop at CS Ed Week. Keep going all year long! Some ways to get started with incorporating more CS in your classroom include:
- Allow students to complete Hour of Code tutorials or work through self-guided CS curriculum as an early finisher option.
- Include CS projects in your menu of product options (e.g., an interactive collage in Scratch, a website, a mobile app, a physical computing project).
- Incorporate books to teach CS concepts, explore impacts of computing, and/or highlight diversity.
- Show videos or articles that explore connections between computing and other disciplines, interests, and careers:
- Host a guest speaker in your class. Find a local volunteer, or find someone to Skype in (filter by subject: computer science). Give them guidance in how to make their work relevant for your students.
Go all in!
Yay! You want to do even more. You could:
- Teach a unit or course. Check out the curriculum options linked above. Nearly all of the options listed have professional development available.
- Advocate to bring CS to your school. See a sample letter to principal, advocacy slide deck, and additional resources.
- Attend the CSTA Annual Conference (July 7-10, 2019 in Phoenix, AZ).
- Earn a credential or certificate. Check with your local college or university. Strong online options are provided by University of California San Diego, College of St. Scholastica, and UTeach Austin.
Bryan Twarek School District Representative
By no means is this intended to be an exhaustive list; rather, it’s just a starting place. If you have a suggestion to add, tweet to @csteachersorg and @btwarek.