Last month, KidsTek Senior Instructor Emily Tow had the opportunity to attend a week-long virtual conference from Code.org and mindSpark Learning. This conference introduced teachers to the CS Principles curriculum from Code.org and connected computer science instructors across the state to their peers for ongoing discussion and support.
“I’ve taught KidsTek’s ‘Intro to Computing’ class for a few years now, so it was really exciting to get some new curriculum and materials to improve my class,” said Tow. “Code.org has designed a truly engaging and hands-on curriculum that I’m excited to try out.”
The new curriculum, which Tow plans to integrate with previous curricula from “Intro to Computing,” emphasizes student collaboration, equity, and empowerment. “One of my favorite things is that the role of the teacher in this curriculum is to be the lead learner, meaning I am learning, exploring, and growing right along with my students and modeling good learning habits for them,” said Tow.
Students begin by exploring the digitization of information and thinking critically about technology’s impacts on our world and build their knowledge and skills throughout the year-long curriculum, culminating in developing and building their own apps using Code.org’s Code Studio platform. With a combination of “plugged” and “unplugged” activities (performed on or off the computer, respectively), students engage with a variety of computer science concepts in a fun, project-based environment. In addition, Code.org is actively working to adapt the curriculum for remote learning.
The CS Principles curriculum is available for free to anyone who is interested in learning or teaching computer science. Check out Code.org’s website for more information!