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3 Ways to Teach Computer Science in Distance Learning

3 Ways to Teach Computer Science in Distance Learning

Source: District Administration

Activities that were especially effective in conveying computer science concepts in a virtual atmosphere were proven out during a Tufts graduate certificate program

As STEAM educators, we talk a lot about the importance of teaching students robotics and coding at an early age. In a remote learning context, though, students may not have the same tech tools they would in the classroom. So how do we move beyond the tool and still teach the behaviors and skills that we want to foster in young children?

Over the summer, the Early Childhood Technology (ECT) graduate certificate program, a one-year blended program at Tufts University led by Associate Director Dr. Amanda Strawhacker and Director Dr. Marina Bers, held a week-long virtual residency course that addressed this question. Like many of their students, our cohort of nine educators from around the country worked both synchronously and asynchronously. In live sessions, educators were able to meet with alumni and learn how they had carried their work from this past year into their current professions with their young learners. Asynchronously, the teachers worked on projects to use their knowledge of coding and robotics tools to create video tutorials that would help parents and teachers work together to teach the same content.

Here are some of the activity ideas shared that were especially effective in conveying computer science concepts in a virtual atmosphere.

Reverse engineering

Normally in engineering, you’re starting from the building blocks and progressing towards a shareable product. Reverse engineering is taking the final product and trying to break down the individual steps. One of our ECT teachers presented a reverse engineering task using the screen-free KIBO robot, which kids program by arranging wooden blocks in a sequence and then scanning the bar codes on the blocks with the robot itself.

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