Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Google’s Computational Thinking MOOC for teachers and CS First Club for children

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This is a message from Google South Africa:

"As teachers we are continually looking for areas to grow in, Google has created a Computational Thinking MOOC which is free for teachers, we would love you to sign up and do the course! The course should between 10 and 30 hours to complete and is open until the end of September. Here is more information about it: Computational Thinking to grow as a teacher

Get started now with Computational Thinking for Educators, an online course where you will learn what CT is and how it can be integrated into a variety of subject areas. Learn at your own pace by exploring examples of CT in a variety of subject areas, experimenting with examples of CT-integrated activities, and creating a plan to incorporate CT into your classroom. Register today and begin your free online course, the estimated time of completion is 10 - 30 hours. The course is open, and will remain available until the end of September.

Exploring Computational Thinking, to use in your classroom
The Exploring Computational Thinking (ECT) website is a curated collection of lesson plans, videos, and other resources on computational thinking (CT). This site was created to provide a better understanding of CT for educators and administrators, and to support those who want to integrate CT into their own classroom content, teaching practice, and learning.
ECT includes:
Computational thinking (CT) is a problem solving process that includes a number of characteristics, such as logically ordering and analyzing data and creating solutions using a series of ordered steps (or algorithms), and dispositions, such as the ability to confidently deal with complexity and open-ended problems. CT is essential to the development of computer applications, but it can also be used to support problem solving across all disciplines, including math, science, and the humanities. Students who learn CT across the curriculum can begin to see a relationship between subjects as well as between school and life outside of the classroom.

Coding club for children
Another initiative is coding club idea for children, called C S First Club - What about encouraging your learners to programme computers or to code. Google has developed an entire resource for schools to use with teaching materials and planning methodology for both teachers and non-teachers to run effective C S First clubs, using ‘Scratch’ in the afternoon  or evening, as an extra-mural activity or even part of your school day.

Scratch is a project of the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab. It is provided free of charge. With Scratch, you can program your own interactive stories, games, and animations — and share your creations with others in the online community. Each CS First club is based on a real-world theme and offers about 10 hours worth of lessons and activities. The different club themes aim to attract and engage students of varying backgrounds and interests. All materials are targeted at students in 4th - 8th grades (or between the ages of 9 - 14) and are free and easy to use.

Scratch helps young people learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively — essential skills for life in the 21st century. Start a CS First Club today, You don't need computer science experience to start a free CS First club. Students learn by watching videos on the computer and code using an online tool called Scratch; all videos, scripts, agendas, and other club materials are provided by Google. All you need to bring is your enthusiasm to help young people learn and explore — if you're interested, you can learn along with your students! Minimum Requirements Access to a computer lab or laptops (one per student) and preferably headphones for each student, and reliable internet/wifi connection.

Hope both these initiatives can assist and excite you as a teacher!"

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