Alfred Thompson: How we can teach computer science to every age @alfredtwo

Alfred Thompson (@alfredtwo) “Mr. Computer Science” spent some time talking with me and the listeners of Every Classroom matters about how we should be teaching computer science at all levels. It can be simple. Students should know how to cause the computer to do things starting at a very young age. In 10 short minutes, you can learn all about this topic and how you can put some concepts in your classroom. Are you teaching students about advanced searching? Start there.

Alfred serves on the Computer Science Teachers of America board. He's my go-to guy for questions about how to teach Computer Science. I've been a faithful reader of his blog since the first month I started blogging in December 2005. Alfred, though, isn't just a PLN resource, he's my friend. He's a good man and a great servant leader to the cause of Computer science and STEM education and is a wealth of knowledge. Take a listen, follow Alfred on Twitter, and understand how Computer Science Matters in your school.

Blog: http://blog.acthompson.net

Twitter: http://twitter.com/alfredtwo

Home Page: http://www.acthompson.net

Listen to the show

Essential questions:

  • What should elementary age students to be able to do? (curriculum directors listen up)
  • What are your favorite simple introduction to programming tools for kids in elementary? (elementary teachers)
  • What do students not understand about searching and search engines?
  • Can every child learn to program?
  • If a high school puts in AP Computer Science or Computer Science what programming languages are being used today?
  • How can use use practical examples to teach programming?
  • What is the Raspberry Pi and how can it be used in the classroom?
  • What are some examples of what you can do with the Raspberry Pi?
  • What is the computer science teacher's association? What does it do?

Show Links:

Elementary Apps & Teaching Tools

Scratch from MIT: http://scratch.mit.edu/

Alice from Carnegie Mellon: http://www.alice.org/

Kodu – Microsoft – make simple games: http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/projects/kodu/

Advanced Searching

Why search engines can't replace teachers: http://blog.acthompson.net/2013/05/why-search-engines-cant-replace.html

Advanced Google search: http://www.google.ca/advanced_search

Advanced Bing search: http://onlinehelp.microsoft.com/en-us/bing/ff808438.aspx

High School Computer Science

Small Basic: http://smallbasic.com/

Python: http://www.python.org/

Java: http://www.java.com/en/about/

The Super Cool, Super Cheap Raspberry Pi

Alfred's Blog Post about the Raspberry Pi: http://blog.acthompson.net/2013/04/new-toyraspberry-pi.html

See official Raspberry Pi Website for projects: http://www.raspberrypi.org/phpBB3/viewforum.php?f=15

Note since I recorded the show. Some people are making game consoles from the 80's with these and hooking them up to their TV's. i.e. Atari anyone? This is so cool, I gave you some bonus links below!

Lifehacker – How to make a retro gaming console for $35: http://lifehacker.com/how-to-turn-your-raspberry-pi-into-a-retro-game-console-498561192 (Great Maker project for this summer!)

Other cool articles about how people are using raspberry pi in many ways: http://lifehacker.com/tag/raspberry-pi

CSTA Information

I teach Introduction to Computer Science. I do not teach AP Computer science or extensive programming. If you teach any computer science concepts, I highly recommend you should join. Last time I checked, dues are covered by a grant if you're an educator. The newsletter is great and I learn so much about STEM every time I read it. Every school should have one member of CSTA on staff – it is that important. (I also think every school should have at least one ISTE (www.iste.org) member on staff – it is another vital STEM organization that shares best practices. These organizations have become hubs of learning and networking.)

Computer Science Teacher's Association: http://csta.acm.org/

Computer Science Education Week (December 8-14, 2013): http://www.csedweek.org/

(Add this to your school calendar now. What a great time to plan some activities. How about Raspberry Pi for Christmas? You could have a Raspberry Pi making contest!! This is a perfect time to celebrate computer science just before Christmas because you can do so many fun things. Make fun games on Kodu, etc.)

About the Every Classroom Matters show on BAM Radio Network

 

To find out more about this podcast go to my Podcast page.

 

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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