Hey CS Discoveries Community,
If you attended TeacherCon this last summer, you know that we’ve been plugging away at updates to the second semester of CSD (units 4, 5, and 6). I’m excited to announce that on October 13th we launched the revised version of Unit 4, the Design Process. Based on feedback from out pilot teachers, we reworked this unit with the following goals in mind:
Decrease the required printing - As this is a primarily unplugged unit, we relied heavily on activity guides to support activities and instruction. In order to balance this support with the reality of printing limitations in many schools, we reworked many lessons so that they could be completed without activity guides, or with journals or scrap paper. We opted not to remove activity guides so that teachers who want them can use them, but look out for teaching tips that call out printer-free alternatives.
Better support the transition from paper to digital prototypes - In the later half of chapter 2, students learn to move their paper app prototypes into App Lab. Pilot teachers found that the App Lab lessons focused too much on discrete skills, without scaffolding the actual process of moving a paper prototype into App Lab. We rewrote these lessons such that all of the skill building levels build on a model app and paper prototype. This way students will have completed the entire process of bringing a paper prototype into App Lab before they need to do it with their own app. We’ve also updated some of the instructional levels to reflect improvements in App Lab around importing screens.
App Lab instruction goes too deep - Often we get significant amounts of contradictory feedback from teachers, which requires some tough balancing on our end. This is one case where many teachers told us that the programming we taught in App Lab went deeper than their kids needed to complete the project, or that they even had time to get into. While other teachers found these deeper lessons really useful, we’ve opted to remove this content for now in the interest of making sure that all classrooms can successfully complete the unit. The lesson in which we introduced this content was always intended to be somewhat optional, and we are investigating better methods of providing optional supplemental instruction that don’t make some kids feel like they didn’t learn something they should have. Once we’ve come up with a better plan for presenting this content we’ll bring it back.
I feel confident that the changes we’ve introduced will make this an easier unit to implement, and a really fun one for your students. If you have any your thoughts or ask questions, please share them here. We’ll continue to post updates as we round out the final units of semester 2.
The CSD Team