Celebrating Computing

On the eve of Computer Science Education Week (December 4-10, 2017) your friends here at Knovation have had a chance to reflect on what has been contributed to this effort and what else we could be doing. The White House has issued a call to action, asking organizations and schools across the country to step up and do more in the area of computer education.

Computer Science Education

Last year the “Hour of Code” was a popular choice to introduce the concepts of computer programming, but Computer Science consists of so much more than just coding.  A Computer Science education program will typically cover things like:

Human Computer Interaction
****** helping students understand the impact that computing has had on our society and the many different ways where technology is used

Problem Solving and Computational Thinking
****** students begin to evolve to computational thinking, where they create solutions to many different types and complexities of problems

Web Design and Usability
****** giving students a chance to start designing and coding their own pages and check for the user-friendliness of their designs

Computing and Data Analysis
****** learners will understand all the ways computing has impacted the management and interpretation of data and how data can be used to support ideas or innovation

Programming
****** students are introduced to programming in a basic language and design a computational solution to a problem

Robotics
****** learners will see how robots enable innovation by automating processes that are problematic for humans and the design and creation of robotic solutions

Although computer science education seems like it would only involve technology, there are plenty of other domains where the thinking processes and approaches in computational literacy come into play.  Math, Science, Social Studies, Language Arts and many other subjects benefit from students who can think the way a computer scientist thinks.

What is Computational Thinking?

  • Taking complex problems and breaking them down into smaller problems that are easier to solve
  • Working out steps or rules for getting things done
  • Understanding the complexity of the task that needs to be managed and the ability to focus on the key details
  • Incorporating the experiences of previous problems or projects to help accomplish the current one
computationalthinkingthumbnailWhat are computational ways of thinking?

As you celebrate Computer Science Education Week, think about new learning opportunities and ways that you can incorporate computational thinking into your curriculum….

….when students write stories, encourage them to plan first, identify the main events and characters

….in art, music or design, have students think about what they are going to create in terms of what sequential steps they need to take in the process of creating

….of course, in Math, students need to get the key information from a problem before they start the process of solving it

Check out some of these great computer science related resources from Knovation’s award winning digital content library for more ideas:

  • Hour of Code Combat: This computer programming game allows students to learn how to write code. Learners write code in real programming languages.
  • Lightbot: An introduction to the hour of code with Lightbot. Program the virtual robot to light up all of the blue squares!
  • Computational Thinking Unplugged Activity: This teacher tutorial provides educators an overview of a lesson in computational thinking without any use of computers. Clicking on the link leads to the full lesson plan. [1 min, 35 sec]
  • Code Conquest – What is Coding?  Don’t know the first thing about coding? Here is a beginner’s tutorial which will give learners all the background information for coding.
  • Code Monster: An instructional program that shows students how to code using Javascript. The Code Monster and his speech bubble are at the top of the screen where kids read straightforward explanations, commands, and questions. Code Monster is simple but most effective as a self-led journey of programming discovery.
  • Java Programs: See some examples made for beginning programmers to understand how to use java to write simple Java programs. These codes demonstrate how to get input from user, working with loops, strings and arrays.
  • Programming Nature Simulations: Learn how to use JavaScript, ProcessingJS, and mathematical concepts to simulate nature in your programs.
  •  Java for Complete Beginners: Learn to program in the Java programming language. This course assumes no prior programming knowledge, just a desire to learn to program.

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