Coaching a Peer

The Community Engagement project for our Educational Technology Leadership class this quarter consisted of coaching a teacher to help them improve a lesson by focusing on areas that promote 21st century skills including:

  • Support for standards such as Common Core or ISTE
  • Improving engagement
  • Using a problem-based task
  • Applying technology to accelerate learning

(Foltos, 2013)

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Community Engagement Project: Pair Programming in K-8

For my Digital Learning Environments Community Engagement project, I chose to develop a workshop on Pair Programming in K-8 classrooms. I picked this topic because I am excited by the research behind pair programming and its potential for making students, and in particular girls, feel more engaged and confident in computer science classes.

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Building Independent Learners

As any parent or teacher knows, children learn best when they solve problems on their own. In this week’s module of our class Digital Learning Environments, I chose to look at how ISTE Coaching Standard 3e, which calls for  troubleshooting “basic software, hardware, and connectivity problems common in digital learning environments,” could be applied in K-5 elementary Technology and Computer Science classes. In this post I wanted to not only find digital tools that could support this standard, but more importantly, understand best practices for helping students solve problems they encounter when learning to code or use various software or hardware devices.

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Accessible & Adaptable Computer Science Instruction

As Computer Science becomes part of K-8 instruction, teachers will need to adapt lessons to make them accessible to students with a broad range of physical, learning and neurological abilities. In the current module of our class, “Digital Learning Environments,” I wanted to examine how the ISTE Standard for Coaches 3, indicator d, “Select, evaluate, and facilitate the use of adaptive and assistive technologies to support student learning” (ISTE, 2011) could be applied to teaching Computer Science.

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Social Coding: Engaging Girls in K-8 Computer Science

“Female Pupils In Science Lesson Studying Robotics” by Highwaystarz-Photography
Getty Images Pro, via Canva.

In module 1 of our DEL program class Digital Learning Environments, we are looking at ISTE Coaching Standard 3 “Technology coaches create and support effective digital age learning environments to maximize the learning of all students” (ISTE, 2011). 

In this post I would like to explore how teachers can promote collaboration and cultural relevance in K-8 Computer Science lessons to increase girls’ interest in coding, addressing indicator a: “Model effective classroom management and collaborative learning strategies to maximize teacher and student use of digital tools and resources and access to technology-rich learning environments” (ISTE, 2011).

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Digital Classroom Commons

“Kids Using Digital Tablet in Classroom.” Source: Ridofranz, G Images Pro, via Canva.

Online classroom spaces that enable students and teachers to interact in creative and adaptive ways are making their way to the K-8 level. Young students can use these spaces to access differentiated lessons and show their understanding in ways that were never possible in traditional classroom settings.

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Physical Computing

Figure 1: Garden creatures created by 4th and 5th graders come to life using BBC micro:bits connected to ultrasonic sensors and motors.

Physical computing – programming small microcomputers and combining them with electrical and non-electrical materials – engages students in ways that coding alone doesn’t. Intangible onscreen code suddenly makes something happen in the real world: a wheel turns, a light goes on, a point is scored and displayed above the soccer game you’ve built. In the process, students collaborate, solve real world problems and see for themselves how the devices we use in our daily lives really work.

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Technology and Culturally Responsive Teaching

In the current module of our class Teaching, Learning, and Assessment 2, we are focusing on ISTE Educator Standards 5, “Designer” and 7, “Analyst.” I wanted to investigate how technology can support culturally responsive teaching by giving students alternative ways to share their backgrounds and learning, and by providing access to information and viewpoints that are outside those contained in textbooks and other traditional academic resources.

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Digital Storytelling

From the time we could speak and draw images on cave walls, humans have used stories to make sense of ourselves and and our place in the world. As new technologies have arisen, we have applied them to storytelling: pigment, pen and paper, printing press, photography, film, video, digital text and images and now, augmented and virtual reality.

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Storytellers: the Original Computational Thinkers

Over the past few weeks, we have been focusing on computational thinking in our “Learning,Teaching and Assessment 1” class in SPU’s Digital Education Leadership program. ISTE’s Student Standard 5c describes one of the key aspects of being a computational thinker: “Students break problems into component parts, extract key information, and develop descriptive models to understand complex systems or facilitate problem-solving” (ISTE Standards for Students, 2016).

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