Our research team recently presented an overview of our most recent research findings. You can find a brief overview of this work in the attached slide presentation. This presentation provides information about the use of the Collaborative Computing Observation Instrument, our initial study of students with disabilities, and future directions for research in the 2015-2016 school year.
Thirty teachers were involved in the two-day workshop at Bradley University called, Summer to Make, Play, and Connect. The presenters included CTRL-Shift members Todd Lash, George Reese, Jeff Ginger, and Martin Wolske. I continue to be amazed at how willing teachers are to take risks and have fun together when it comes to activities that they know will be exciting for their students. -George
On June 8th, a small group of individuals representing educators from Champaign Unit 4 Schools and the University of Illinois met to discuss computational thinking and computer science at the middle school level. In the morning, Ms. Jessica Pitcher shared what work is currently being done in the areas of CT/CS at Kenwood Elementary School. She discussed the transformation the school has undergone during its adoption of CT as a structural model for curriculum implementation, as well as the struggles and celebrations that have occurred along the way. Ms. Pitcher also shared some interactive “unplugged” activities, which required participants to utilize the CT framework for collaboration in order to work in pairs to act out a set of algorithms.
Much of the afternoon involved time for district teachers and specialists to explore computer programming through Scratch. Individuals worked at their own pace to create simple, interactive video games. Later, with the help of Mr. Joe Muskin from UIUC, participants worked with Arduinos to program LED lights. The day ended with some collaboration time for teachers to begin planning how to incorporate CT/CS in their classrooms. The STEM Specialists from Jefferson, Edison and Franklin Middle Schools developed a plan to implement CT/CS into their STEM classes so that all middle level students enrolled in the course will have the opportunity to build skills in these areas. –Tina Lehr
Monday night, October 27, was one of the great pay-off moments for CTRL-Shift. After two years of collaboration among Champaign Unit 4 Schools, MSTE, Computer Science,Library Science, local entrepreneurs, and community members, we had a chance to publicly demonstrate some of the great educational outcomes stemming from these efforts!
A group of Kenwood Elementary Schoolstudents stood before the Unit 4 School Board and shared their computational thinking skills. They used the interactive whiteboard, their Chromebooks, and good ‘ole pencil and paper to show computer science – unplugged and on the computer. There were plenty of “ooh”s and “aah”s. And it may be the first time that anyone has described a school board meeting as “fun!”
Check out the pictures and videos below to get a sense of the palpable enthusiasm at the board meeting. If you were there, feel free to chime in in the comments section to let us know what you thought. And of course, we’re always excited to hear from you on Twitter! You can reach us on Twitter at @ctrlshiftCU.
Pictures from the board meeting:
A female student shows 2 board members her computer program on a Chromebook
A board member looks on as a female student shows her project on a laptop
3 board members and 2 students work on a project at a SMART board
3 board members and 2 students contemplate how to complete a coding challenge at a whiteboard
6 board members all down a long table work individually with students on laptops
Video from the board meeting:
Champaign Unit 4 released a new video highlighting their work with the University of Illinois, emphasizing the computational thinking project with Kenwood Elementary School. You can see some of the collaborators in the CTRL-Shift group and hear the excitement they have for this new dimension of education in our schools. Check it out and let us know what you think!