New Version of the CS4H Manual

For the past year, a group of faculty, students, and staff at UIUC have been working on an Introduction to Computer Science using Scratch.  We call the project, CS4H. We have piloted it with 4-H club facilitators, students, and teachers.Responses so far have been positive, and we believe that young people and adults can just pick it up and start working with Scratch. The content is organized around key computer science concepts of Sequence, Iteration, Conditionals, Variables, and Modularization. Use the link below to download the pdf.

CS4H youth guide Aug7 (pdf)

In addition, Travis Faust has written up a colorful guide to the Scratch blocks.

ScratchDocBooklet (pdf)

New users of Scratch should find this guide a handy index.

Research to Practice Update

We have been busy this summer analyzing data for three computing related projects. These projects have once again highlighted how lucky we are to be working with such great colleagues, graduate students, and faculty. As these papers go out for review, we will update you on progress. For now, here’s the synopsis of one study.

Computing case studies across students with disabilities: In the spring, we collected data across two students with fairly significant disabilities because we wanted to know their experiences during computing instruction, the types of supports they were receiving, and the perceptions of their teachers and support staff. We were happy that these students, with the right supports and accommodations, could be successful during computing. Although simplified, the findings are as follows: For one of the students, who had significant behavior needs, engagement and time on task during computing rose sharply once an appropriate behavior intervention was in place. For the other student, who had autism and very limited language skills, support included giving him full access to the computer rather than having his experience be mediated by a support staff. Although this is not a ground-shattering new development, it lends to our equity argument that computing benefits a wide range of learners, including students with disabilities.

I will report on our studies related to using the Collaborative Computing Observation Instrument (C-COI) to study collaborative computing as well as on the integrated computing and mathematics study in my following post.

Lastly, look for our latest paper, “Empowering K-12 students with disabilities to learn computational thinking and computer programming” in the October issue of TEACHING Exceptional Children.

Introduction to CS with Scratch

The CS4H Team has completed a draft of the Youth Guide, CS4H: Introduction to CS with Scratch. The document contains activities to guide readers through an overview of basic computer science content: Sequence, Iteration, Conditionals, Variables, and Modularization. Developed by Lenny Pitt, Judy Rocke, and Jana Sebestik, the 49-page manual is being piloted by adults and youth around Illinois. It was created with grant support from the University of Illinois Extension

CS4H. An example page