Computer Science Education Week
You don’t need to wait for December 4th – 10th to experience the Hour of Code — and you don’t need to stop after an hour!
ECOO, as a Subject Association in Ontario which facilitates the integration of new computing technology into the educational curriculum, recognizes the value that computational thinking brings to our students. To that end,
“Code is the language that a computer understands. Coding, in the simplest of terms, is telling a computer to do what you want it to do. This begins with breaking a task down into logically sequenced step-by-step commands for the computer to follow. Coding allows users to investigate, problem solve, explore and communicate through discovery, and it is a way to express ideas creatively.
Coding requires computational thinking, which is embedded throughout the Ontario Curriculum. As a result of this, educators can incorporate code into learning for all curriculum areas. The task can consist of journals, interactive stories, literature retells, video, websites, e-mail correspondence, artwork, drama and dance routines, and so on.”
50 Year Anniversary!
As the Hour of Code is upon us, it is important that we, as educators, understand the roots of this movement. It is not new—but, has arrived, with a flurry, at our doorstep once again—and we must embrace it for all the right reasons and learn to integrate computational thinking into the lives of our students as a new literacy.
Fifty (50) years ago this year, in 1967, LOGO, the first programming language for children was developed by Seymour Papert, Cynthia Solomon, and Wally Feurzeig when they worked at Bolt, Beranek, and Newman.
Seymour Papert developed the theory of constructionism—and this was absolutely central to all programming/coding efforts throughout the 1980s and early 90s. In fact, for many of us, it is still the driving force behind our interest in programming and ‘making’.
His seminal book, Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas, is a must-read for anyone who embarks on programming with students.
For a brief, but accurate, history of Logo, visit the Logo Foundation.
Enjoy these early videos. Listen to the educational ideas. They sound so current!
The eighties and early nineties were vibrant decades for this first wave of computational thinking in the classrooms of the world! ECOO even had a Special Interest Group (SIG) for LOGO throughout that time. And, continuing through today, SIG-CS is going strong!
We used to teach the Total Turtle Trip!
“If a turtle takes a trip around the boundary of any area and ends up in the state in which it started, then the sum of all turns will be 360 degrees.” Seymour Papert, Mindstorms, 1980
Here we are in 2017—student agency, inquiry, project-based learning, and coding are back on the radar. ?
Yes, coding is back! We’ve done a Total Turtle Trip.
Everyone has their own reasons for wanting to integrate coding into their classrooms. What are your reasons?
It is suggested that it is:
- an employability skill
- a new literacy
- a vehicle to develop cognitive skills
- necessary to know enough about coding to understand how technologies can be used to influence, or manipulate, us. (Douglas Rushkoff in ‘Program or Be Programmed’.)
- supports the development of global competencies – ‘Deeper learning’ through engagement of the interpersonal, intrapersonal and cognitive domains.
Here are some thoughts from various Ontarians (and Canadians):
“In brief, my reasons revolve around ‘students being in charge of their own learning’. These include:
- student agency (locus of control)
- scaffolding a cognitive partnership where students come to deeply understand learning through the development and application of metacognitive skills”
“…take the freedom you are given with our Ontario curriculum and innovate your own examples to go along with overall expectations!”
Again, what are your reasons for wanting students to code? Start with the ‘why’!
On November 28th, the Ministry of Education shared with Directors of Education the following resources for Hour of Code 2017
1) Educator webinars pre (Nov 29) and post (Dec 13) Hour of Code http://www.pirweb.org/en/hour-of-code-professional-development/, as well as, webinars for students and educators during during computer science education week http://www.pirweb.org/en/hour-of-code/ (english and french).
2) First Robotics EV3 Webinars on Dec 11 http://www.firstroboticscanada.org/hourofcode2017
4) Share the learning using #OntarioCodes
Annonce du ministère
Le 28 novembre, le ministère de l’Éducation a partagé avec les directeurs de l’éducation les ressources suivantes pour l’heure du code 2017:
C’est bientôt la Semaine de l’enseignement de l’informatique (du 4 au 8 décembre) et de l’événement une Heure de Code! Nous aimerions partager avec vous les activités qui auront lieu cette année. Merci de partager avec vos membres!
- Webinaire en direct de Partenaires en recherche le 29 novembre à 20 h et le 13 décembre à 20 h. Ces événements sont pour les enseignantes et enseignants m-8 qui sont intéressés à débuter en codage et, suite à une Heure de Code, cherchent des moyens d’aller au-delàs d’une Heure de Code. Les détails se trouvent ici : http://www.pirweb.org/en/hour-of-code-professional-development/.
- Durant la Semaine de l’enseignement de l’informatique les enseignantes et enseignants peuvent inscrire leurs classes à un événement en direct de Partenaires en recherche afin de connecter avec des chercheurs en informatique ontariens. Pour l’horaire complet, consultez le site suivant : http://www.pirweb.org/fr/hour-of-code/.
- First Robotics offrira des webinaires gratuits (disponibles en anglais seulement) afin d’appuyer leur kit de robotique le 11 décembre http://www.firstroboticscanada.org/hourofcode2017.
Nous encourageons les enseignantes et enseignants à s’inscrire sur le site web d’une Heure de code et à essayer des activités à https://hourofcode.com/ca/fr.
Gazouillez et partagez vos apprentissages à #OntarioCodes!
This is a question that is asked by many! There are, of course, many answers! The best way to get started is different for each and every individual.
- The Hour of Code website has activities suitable for everyone from beginner to comfortable, from pre-reader to secondary, and across all subject disciplines!
- Girls Who Code
Let’s highlight some Ontario resources:
- Coding in Elementary: A Professional Learning Resource for Ontario Educators from Edugains
What, Why, Who, Where, and some sample learning plans.
- Coding in the Elementary Grades: TDSB
Standards, continuum, curriculum connections, Scratch tutorials
- TLDSB Codes
How-to’s, curriculum connections, challenges, hardware options
- Scope and Sequence of Embedded Competencies in CT/Coding
AMDSB (be sure to click the tabs at the bottom of the spreadsheet)
- Math + Code ‘Zine
an online magazine that connects math to coding and coding to math.
- Turtle Art (Canadian – created by Brian Silverman and Artemis Papert)
“TurtleArt lets you make images with your computer. The Turtle follows a sequence of commands. You specify the sequence by snapping together puzzle like blocks. The blocks can tell the turtle to draw lines and arcs, draw in different colors, go to a specific place on the screen, etc. There are also blocks that let you repeat or name sequences. Other blocks perform logical operations.”
- OTF Connects
The Ontario Teachers’ Federation provides webinars to OTF members. If you are not an OTF member, you are welcome to view the past webinars.
- Minds On Media
resources, conversations, courses
- Teacher Learning & Leadership TLLP Projects 2016-17 and 2017-18
Browse the projects and contact the creators
Help us extend our resource base for the benefit of learners throughout Ontario!
This is just a taste of Ontario resources and voice. We know you have much more to ask and to share! ECOO invites you to complete this survey which has two major components:
- What do you and your colleagues need to effectively integrate computational thinking into your curriculum for deeper learning for your students?
- What resources do you have, or know about, that you can share with your Ontario colleagues to meet that objective?
Beyond Hour of Code
If you wish to go beyond, try:
- ‘Beyond the Hour of Code’ site
- Logo Exchange – NOT TO BE MISSED! A wealth of activities (and research!) for LOGO/coding from years past—see if you can apply them with today’s coding tools. You’ll see ideas like ‘quilt making’, ‘Cartesian Coordinates’, ‘optical illusions’, ‘Turtle Dances’, ‘fractals’, ‘Research-based suggestions for Understanding LOGO’, to name a few!
Maybe you want to mix ‘making’ with ‘neuroscience’ “How to Control Someone Else’s Arm with Your Brain” ?
- Drawing Kids into Being Mathematicians with Turtle Art
Let your students amaze you with their mathematical minds as they create art with turtle geometry!
- How to Teach Computational Thinking – WIRED
Computational thinking is going to be a defining feature of the future — and it’s an incredibly important thing to be teaching to kids today.
- Making Does not Equal Constructionism
‘Making’ is about empowering students to ‘make up’ their own minds—quite literally—regardless of the artifacts being constructed.
Situating Constructionism by Seymour Papert & Idit Harel
“The following essay is the first chapter in Seymour Papert and Idit Harel’s book Constructionism (Ablex Publishing Corporation, 1991).
It is easy enough to formulate simple catchy versions of the idea of constructionism; for example, thinking of it as “learning-by-making.” One purpose of this introductory chapter is to orient the reader toward using the diversity in the volume to elaborate–to construct–a sense of constructionism much richer and more multifaceted, and very much deeper in its implications, than could be conveyed by any such formula.” Read more…
Conditions of Learning in Novice Programmers by N. Perkins, Chris Hancock, Renee Hobbs, Fay Martin, Rebecca Simmons, Vol 2, Issue 1, 1986
“Under normal instructional circumstances, some youngsters learn programming in BASIC or LOGO much better than others. Clinical investigations of novice programmers suggest that this happens in part because different students bring different patterns of learning to the programming context.
- disengage from the task whenever trouble occurs,
- neglect to track closely what their programs do by reading back the code as they write it,
- try to repair buggy programs by haphazardly tinkering with the code, or
- have difficulty breaking problems down into parts suitable for separate chunks of code.
Such problems interfere with students making the best of their own learning capabilities: students often invent programming plans that go beyond what they have been taught directly. Instruction designed to foster better learning practices could help students to acquire a repertoire of programming skills, perhaps with spinoffs having to do with “learning to learn.”” Read more…
Spaghetti vs Ravioli
The chunking of code, was one challenge I faced with kids in the 80s. They used to write long strings and just add a command, try it, add another, and so on. We ended up calling that ‘spaghetti’ code. We talked about making ‘ravioli’ instead! ? Chunk it into meaningful pieces!
Afterbugs – Tiptoeing Back through their Thinking
The issue of giving up on errors, or bugs, I dealt with playfully. I wanted them to tiptoe back through their thinking. It became something delightful for them to seek bugs. Read how—here.
“Investigations of the impact of programming instruction on cognitive skills have yielded occasional positive and many negative findings. To interpret the mixed results, we describe two distinct mechanisms of transfer–“low road” transfer, resulting from extensive practice and automatization, and “high road” transfer, resulting from mindful generalization. High road transfer seems implicated where positive impacts of programming have been found; insufficient practice and little provocation of mindful abstraction are characteristic of investigations not demonstrating transfer. Our discussion affirms that programming instruction can improve cognitive skills under the right conditions, but cautions that implementing such conditions on a wide scale may be difficult and that programming instruction must compete with other means of improving cognitive skills.”
Implications for Deeper Learning
I have written extensively about this issue of transfer—in this context of coding. There are great challenges associated with it. So the questions remain—how do you support it in your classrooms?
Research on Logo: A decade of Process by Douglas Clements
“Depending on the environment in which it is embedded, Logo can constitute a trivial enterprise or a variegated educational experience. We claim that few educational environments have shown as consistent benefits of such a wide scope from the development of academic knowledge and cognitive processes to the facilitation of positive social and emotional climates. Yet, somewhat paradoxically, realizing these multifarious benefits does not imply lack of focus: Integration into one or more subject matter areas maximizes positive effects. A critical factor, however, is a clear and elaborated vision of the goals of Logo experience shared among administrators, curriculum developers, teachers, and students. Such a vision provides a gyroscope that guides the myriad activities of educators: administration, curriculum development, lesson guidance, and moment-by-moment interactions with students.” Read more…
“If a turtle takes a trip around the boundary of any area and ends up in the state in which it started, then the sum of all turns will be 360 degrees.”
Seymour Papert, Mindstorms, 1980
“If the role of the computer is so slight that the rest can be kept constant,
it will also be too slight for much to come of it.”
Seymour Papert, 1987, Computer Criticism vs. Technocentric Thinking.
“I am convinced that the best learning takes place when the learner takes charge …”