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Teaching Computer Science: Strategies & Tips

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  • 0:00 What Is Computer Science?
  • 0:47 Curriculum Strategies
  • 2:54 Tips for Teaching CS
  • 4:09 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Sharon Linde
We've all heard the words computer science, but do we really know what teaching it means? This lesson will bring you up to date on current strategies for teaching computer science and offer some tips of the trade.

What Is Computer Science?

When computers were just on the horizon, students went to their school's computer lab once a week and played a game or two while the teacher took a little break. Today, technology is ever-present in the world of education, and teachers are an active part of making sure students are fluent users.

When we say computer science in education, we mean teaching children how to use and understand the uses of technology, mainly (though not limited to) computers. And just to be clear, a computer is an electronic device we use to store and process data. Got it? Great! Let's take a look at Kathy, a seasoned computer science teacher, and see what she's up to.

Curriculum Strategies

Thanks to advances in technology, there are limitless possibilities as to what Kathy can teach in her classroom. Kathy is lucky enough to have a curriculum her district provides for her, but uses a few ideas of her own as well.

Make Learning Fun & Develop Creativity

Although many students come to school computer literate, they don't always think of taking a technical class as fun. Kathy aims to change that view by integrating games and showing students how they can use their creativity during her class. Students don't just play with computers in Kathy's class, they create or alter technology to make something new, like spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, or programs.

What's more, Kathy makes sure she exposes students to the puzzle side of computer science, posing a problem and guiding students towards a solution. For instance, Kathy teaches important skills like coding and program design, which require students to use high-level thinking skills, like reasoning and problem solving.

Build Collaboration & Prepare Students for Careers

Though many of us think of a lone person hacking away on a keyboard when we think of a technology genius, the reality is most computer science innovation happens between people. Kathy shows her students that they can and should work cooperatively to solve problems and create programs. These collaborative skills can benefit students who aspire to work in the computer science realm, an in-demand field that is predicted to be even more so by the time students enter the workforce, as well as those interested in other careers.

Teach High Risk-Reward

Unlike most classes her students take, computer science has a good amount of built-in cushion for risk. This means that students can try something and if they find it doesn't work, there isn't a failing grade or other educational consequence. Kathy works hard to teach her students to go out on a limb and try something new. And if that doesn't work? Good. Try something else! Students learn to solve problems without fear of failing in the process.

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