My official job title is “K-12 Technology Specialist” so I help all teachers and students with technology and how to use it to become more efficient. In my work I’ve noticed the gap between adult and student learners (which is as vast as the Grand Canyon) but also a huge gap (think Black Canyon of the Gunnison) between what students know for school and what they can do in their free time (Instagram, Snapchat and everything else that I only know about when it makes the news). There is so much to know about protecting ourselves and although Facebook and MySpace are over 10 years old, people are still making the same mistakes and putting themselves at risk everyday. Another important to Computer Science education is to educate ourselves about what we are doing and creating rather than just doing it.
January 3rd – Tech Today Practice
Other subjects can live in a vacuum, but with Computer Science you want to create a website/program for everyone to see/use. There is a whole different mindset to teaching in that environment, “how do I help my students progress, but transparently and for the world to see and interact with?” The Beauty and Joy of Computing is an up-and-coming CS curriculum (that I love and will talk about multiple times throughout the year) and they encourage the daily discussions of “tech today” and making connections to what we are doing and how it effects us all. I modeled this for a few weeks and then assigned students to find articles (some asked for help which was fine). Students found articles from the New York Times, and countless other technology publications out there. I directed many students to the news section of the Association for Computing Machinery and they’d read, develop some questions to lead the class and we started everyday like this. It was amazing. Students that struggled in class, shared opinions because they finally had a voice. Other students found articles that related to their passions and connected CS to music, art, robotics, AI and more. I sat among the class and they first started talking to me, but soon that structure was lost and they addressed the entire group. It was very powerful to see students exercise their voice regardless of grade level. It was great to see so many students involved and even one asked to go twice because he found an article he wanted to talk about, as a teacher – thats when my job is done.