Yes, National Computer Science Week is over and more than 10 million students participated in the Hour of Code and the feedback from all over the country is pretty incredible. Chicago Public Schools announced they are adding Computer Science into the core curriculum for all students. Schools and districts that have been promoting coding for years, like Los Altos School District, are getting great press about what they accomplish with students. New apps, programs and teacher training resources are popping up all over. 2014 definitely feels like it is going to be the year of the student coder!
Just because the Hour of Code is finished does not mean you have to stop now. Code.org offered so many great student resources and content to fill that hour, it’s possible to fill the rest of the school year with hours of coding! Beyond that, here are our 3 best suggestions to empower students and teachers to continue working and foster their new found love of learning to code:
1. LearnStreet Programming App on Edmodo. The LearnStreet app on Edmodo provides a large library of coding courses and projects that teachers can assign. Students can earn points by completing each one and they are all accessible right inside of Edmodo.
How it works:
Assign LearnStreet’s coding courses and projects to students, groups or classes.
Students get an Edmodo notification and post with a link to their new assignment.
Points are awarded and tracked automatically within the app.
In honor of the Hour of Code, LearnStreet created a project for students to code their own holiday card- which would still be a great project to fit in this last week before break or send home with your students to keep them busy during their time off.
2. Connect With The TEALS Program. TEALS (Technology Education and Literacy in Schools) is working to be a sustainable non-profit organization that connects high-tech companies and professionals with schools to fulfill technology literacy and computer science classroom needs at scale on a state and national level. Starting in 2010, Microsoft hosted 4 schools in the state of Washington to kick off the program. In just 3 years, it has grown and they now partner with 65 schools and reach 3300 total students in 12 different states with 280 tech industry volunteers.
TEALS recruits, trains, and mentors high tech professionals to teach Computer Science during 1st period in local schools in conjunction with a classroom teacher who will eventually teach the class on their own. Basically, it provides a win/win situation for both teachers and students- learning computer science together while creating a sustainable program for the school as a whole. The TEALS model offers both an Intro to Computer Science as well as AP Computer Science. Inquiries from schools for the 2014 school year are being accepted now.
3. Run Your Own Professional Development for Computer Science. With this recent edtech success, it feels like great strides are happening to introduce computer science as it’s own course into the curriculum. But with the conversations being had, it seems that coding won’t stay isolated long. The big push for “writing across the curriculum” that took off not long ago could soon morph into “coding across the curriculum” in just a few years.
Code.org is currently developing a professional development program to train to become confident in coding so that they can conduct their own coding courses for their students. It will be a blended model that can be personalized by every teacher looking to gain code teaching skills. According to the program’s outline, it will be thorough and highly innovative- not something many teachers have experienced up until now.
Still, if you are as anxious as your students to become coders, start now. Run a coding/hacking session at the next edcamp you attend. Suggest an hour of code at the next staff meeting. Seek out the IT professionals in your community now- maybe they are even parents at your school and let them know what’s happening. Staying one step ahead, even if it’s just a baby step, will always open the door and allow for progress to occur.
Edmodo is a portfolio company of Learn Capital where Tom is a partner