Computing is so fundamental to understanding and participating in society that it is valuable for every student to learn as part of a modern education. Computer science can be viewed as a liberal art, a subject that provides students with a critical lens for interpreting the world around them. Computer science prepares all students to be active and informed contributors to our increasingly technological society whether they pursue careers in technology or not. Computer science can be life-changing, not just skill training.
Students learn best when they are intrinsically motivated. This course prioritizes learning experiences that are active, relevant to students' lives, and provide students authentic choice. Students are encouraged to be curious, solve personally relevant problems and to express themselves through creation. Learning is an inherently social activity, so the course is designed to interweave lessons with discussions, presentations, peer feedback, and shared reflections. As students proceed through the pathway, the structures increasingly shift responsibility to students to formulate their own questions, develop their own solutions, and critique their work.
It is also critical to diversify the technology workforce. Addressing inequities within the field of computer science is critical to bringing computer science to all students. The tools and strategies in this course will help teachers understand and address well-known equity gaps within the field. All students can succeed in computer science when given the right supports and opportunities, regardless of prior knowledge.
OVERVIEW AND GOALS
Computer Science Discoveries introduces students to computer science as a vehicle for problem solving, communication, and personal expression. The course focuses on the visible aspects of computing and computer science and encourages students to see where computer science exists around them and how they can engage with it as a tool for exploration and expression. Centering on the immediately observable and personally applicable elements of computer science, the course asks students to look outward and explore the impact of computer science on society. Students should see how a thorough student-centered design process produces a better application, how data is used to address problems that affect large numbers of people, and how physical computing with circuit boards allows computers to collect, input and return output in a variety of ways.
Additional Notes - Pedagogical Approach to Learning: Teacher as Lead Learner
What is the Lead Learner approach?
As the lead learner, the teacher role shifts from being the source of knowledge to that of a leader in seeking knowledge. The lead learner's mantra is: "I may not know the answer, but I know that together we can figure it out."
The philosophy of the lead learner strategy is that students can benefit from having a model to demonstrate the learning process. Being a lead learner doesn't discount the need for a teacher to develop computer science content expertise, but it does allow for an environment of openness with students about the teacher learning process. Modeling and teaching how to learn are the most important factors to consider in order to be successful with this style of teaching and learning.
The lead learner technique represents good teaching practice in general. One important role of the teacher in the Computer Science Discoveries classroom is to model excitement about investigating how things work by asking motivating questions about why things work they way they do or are the way they are. With teacher guidance, students will learn how to hypothesize; ask questions of peers; test, evaluate, and refine solutions collaboratively; seek out resources; analyze data; and write clear and cogent code.
English Language Arts (ELA) Standards Special Notes Section:
Teachers are required to provide speaking and listening instruction that allows students to communicate information, ideas and concepts for academic success in the content area. Within this course you will find standards specific to the 6th, 7th and 8th grade ranges, the appropriate standards for the grade should be utilized.
English Language Development (ELD) Standards Special Notes Section:
Teachers are required to provide listening, speaking, reading and writing instruction that allows English language learners (ELL) to communicate for social and instructional purposes within the school setting. For the given level of English language proficiency and with visual, graphic, or interactive support, students will interact with grade level words, expressions, sentences and discourse to process or produce language necessary for academic success. The ELD standard should specify a relevant content area concept or topic of study chosen by curriculum developers and teachers which maximizes an ELL’s need for communication and social skills. To access an ELL supporting document which delineates performance definitions and descriptors, please click on the following link: https://cpalmsmediaprod.blob.core.windows.net/uploads/docs/standards/eld/si.pdf.
Federal and state legislation requires the provision of accommodations for students with disabilities as identified on the secondary student's Individual Educational Plan (IEP) or 504 plan or postsecondary student's accommodations' plan to meet individual needs and ensure equal access. Accommodations change the way the student is instructed. Students with disabilities may need accommodations in such areas as instructional methods and materials, assignments and assessments, time demands and schedules, learning environment, assistive technology and special communication systems. Documentation of the accommodations requested and provided should be maintained in a confidential file.
In addition to accommodations, some secondary students with disabilities (students with an IEP served in Exceptional Student Education (ESE) will need modifications to meet their needs. Modifications change the outcomes and or what the student is expected to learn, e.g., modifying the curriculum of a secondary career and technical education course.
Additional resources and a free curriculum that may be utilized for this course can be found at https://curriculum.code.org/csd-19/ and https://codehs.com/info/states/florida.