- Let the kids use computers frequently and early on.
- Provide better explanatory information for teachers of CS Discoveries.
I taught CS Fundamentals last year and I thought the supporting materials were excellent.
By contrast I think the documentation that accompanies the current version of CS Discoveries is insufficient.
I also think that far too much time is spent in this first unit without letting the kids get their hands on an actual computer. No one is excited about programming on paper. It’s great to do off-line activities, but to have all of these lessons and expect the kids to remain motivated without doing stuff with an actual computer is foolish. I understand that having a grasp of the abstract notions that underpin programming is helpful long-term, but you need to mix in actual examples with a computer.
This card-sorting exercise is an example of how limited the teacher documentation is for CS Discoveries. The roles of the student participants are only explained vaguely. Here’s the best Youtube has to offer about how to show the process.
Shout out to Jill Jones. We watched this and my kids were still perplexed about why it all mattered.
Why is processing important? Why should anyone care about this? What are the names of some different sorting algorithms? What is this whole activity demonstrating?
Code.org has provided a by-engineers/for-engineers solution here and you are going to lose your audience. If you want to convince kids that computer science is exciting and fun, you need to give teachers more and to help communicate.