Computational Thinking in the K-12 Classroom

The title Computational Thinking in the K-12 Classroom might seem to discuss the skill of adding and subtracting. It actually refers to the use of computer programming to develop critical thinking and problem solving skills. One such site for this development is Scratch. Scratch was created at the Massachussettes Institute of Technology. It uses color coded blocks. Kids snap the blocks into order to create a script for their sprites (elements on the screen). Students can create self-running activities or ones which require user interaction. I made this screen capture to explain the process of scripting for a snowflake project. CRES students in grades 5 and 6 have been introduced to this program.

The screen shots shown below capture the artistic abilities and creative thinking of students.


CRES Computer Lab in the News

The CRES Computer Lab was recently featured in the River Valley Times. The article focused on the need to teach computer programming. Students in 3rd grade will  receive instruction in computer programming, using HTML and CSS. Their first lessons will focus on the basic template for creating a web page. Students will then be shown how to operate KomodoEdit, a free editor thats helps them preview their web pages.

A recent article from the River Valley Times.

A recent article from the River Valley Times.

I found this video about the creator of Summly to be very interesting. This kid began programming when he was 13, using YouTube videos for instruction. He is rumored to have received $30 million for his app.

This video, in particular, really inspired me to stretch my skills as a teacher. When I learned that only 1 in 10 schools was teaching programming, such a basic skill for today’s students, I realized I had to seek the professional development I needed so that I could offer programming to my students.