Administrative Resistance to Using Coding Websites


#1

I teach AP Computer Science Principles, and we are preparing for the AP Create task. I use Code.org’s curriculum, but one of my students asked if they could use Scratch, and I said sure that he was not tied to Code.org’s App Lab although most of my students use it.

My students have Chromebooks, and he is being blocked. I have asked them to unblock it, and they would like the one student’s URL to his project to just it open or unblock the project, because we have a teacher that wants it blocked because there must have been a student in a class playing games on it.

This is the Director of Technology that I am dealing with, and he is adamant about keeping the entire website blocked to support the teacher’s wishes. I have tried to explain the value in the program, that Indiana is even requiring that K-8 CS standards be incorporated in K-8 classrooms.

I am at a loss on how to handle this…anyway suggestions on how to approach a meeting that we will be having tomorrow afternoon. Thanks.


#2

Hi @buchanant,

Sorry to hear you’re hitting such roadblocks. Sounds like a very frustrating situation.

I’ll forward your concern to code.org staff and maybe they have some ideas on how to deal with the more bureaucratic side of things.

Meanwhile, I don’t suppose there’s any other machine available to download the offline version of Scratch and work on that? Still not ideal, but possibly better than nothing.

This is also a College Board accessibility issue - the teacher is required to allocate the minimum hours (12) to this Create PT so if you have an AP coordinator and/or admin to bat for you, maybe that will help. (However, I don’t know if the teacher/school is required to provide the student the platform - say the student wants to program in some language that requires the school purchase software - is the school obligated to? My guess is no.)

I would try calling College Board and sharing the issue with them.

Frank


#3

@buchanant I assume your meeting has already happened but @frank_w_lee pinged the curriculum team to look into this so I figured I’d leave my 2 cents as well. It’s definitely a little disappointing that Scratch would be blocked. Given there’s so many ways to find distractions on the Internet it’s a little silly to block one of the tools where students might actually be motivated to build projects like that of their own. Another option might be to have your student go check out Snap! which is very similar to the Scratch environment and is actually a part of the Beauty and Joy of Computing CS Principles course.

Hope that helps and let us know if there’s more we can do.


#4

http://cs10.org/snap/snap.html