IAE Blog

Information Age Education (IAE) is an Oregon not-for-profit corporation founded by David Moursund in August 2007. The IAE Blog was started in August 2010.

Staff Development for Teachers of Students Who Have Learned Some Computer Science

The previous IAE Blog entry discussed a ninth grade Computer Science course that is being required for all students in a Pennsylvania school district (9/29/2010). The course includes an emphasis on problem solving. However, we all know that problem solving is an important component of every academic course and that computers are an important aid to problem solving in every discipline.

As students gain this computer science knowledge and skills one would expect that they would want to use their new knowledge and skills, both while in the ninth grade and in subsequent grades. This means that all of their teachers will be faced by students wanting to use their newly acquired computer-oriented knowledge and skills.

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A Pennsylvania School District Requires Computer Science for All Ninth Graders

In browsing the Web today, I came across a newspaper article reporting on a school district requiring all ninth graders to take a computer course. (http://www.philly.com/philly/education/20100927_Springfield_High_looks_at_computers_in-depth.html.) The Springfield Township district is the first in Pennsylvania to mandate that students take a computer science course as a graduation requirement.

I read the article to see what it might have to say about students learning computer science.

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Using ICT to Improve Education: Consider Three Questions Instead of Two

We are all interested in improving our informal and formal educational systems. This is an everyday challenge to parents, teachers, politicians, and many other people.

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is certainly relevant to addressing the challenge. Most people who look at possible roles of ICT in education ask just two questions:

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What do Precollege Students Think About Computers in Education?

Those of us who routinely talk with precollege students have some insight into what these students think about schools. Project Tomorrow carries out a yearly survey to help capture some of these insights. Quoting from the Project Tomorrow website:  http://www.tomorrow.org/speakup/pdfs/SU09NationalFindingsStudents&Parents.pdf.

For the past 7 years, the Speak Up National Research Project has provided the nation with a unique window into classrooms and homes all across America and given us a realistic view on how technology is currently being used (or not) to drive student achievement, teacher effectiveness and overall educational productivity. Most notably, the Speak Up data first documented and continues to reveal each year the increasingly significant digital disconnect between the values and aspirations of our nation’s students about how the use of technology can improve the learning process and student outcomes, and the values and aspirations of their less technology comfortable teachers and administrators. [Bold added for emphasis.]

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Integrating Computational Thinking into Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math Education

I contribute time and energy to the Oregon PrISM (Preparation for Instruction of Science & Math) project. (See http://www.theprismproject.org.) Yesterday the leaders in this project spent time discussing possible content for a new proposal to the National Science Foundation that would continue and extend the good work that has been done so far.

As I have done repeatedly with this group, I pointed out that the content of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) areas has changed significantly due to computer modeling and computational thinking. (See http://iae-pedia.org/Computational_Thinking.) Also, students have changed significantly through growing up in a world of cell phones, text messaging, computers, computerized games, multimedia recording and playback devices, and the Web.

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