Exploring power and play through computer science
Small children can understand big ideas, and computer science is no exception. Acera’s hands-on curriculum introduces students to computer science concepts beginning in early elementary.
Building on the year-long theme of power, kids in Danny Fain’s Powerful and Purposeful Programming elective sought answers to questions like: What kinds of power can be exerted or expressed by digital products? How could those forms of power be responsibly designed to consider the real-world effects? How might digital play also serve a meaningful purpose? In small teams, students explored those questions by using programming tools to create and remix digital products like apps, games, and websites.
In another elective, Designing Learning Experiences, the students became the teachers! Technology and Narrative Specialist David Alsdorf asked students to design, implement, and assess creative learning opportunities through a study of the history of child-centered play and maker based pedagogies, including Froebel, constructionism, and LEGO. They then designed a new learning experience and facilitated it with other students, practicing leadership, play and community with metacognitive computer science education.
These are just two examples of the many creative ways computational thinking and technical fluency can be developed throughout K-12 education. Pilot-tested and ready to translate for adoption by public schools, these computer science learning approaches help students become facile and fearless.