The rise of the digital age has placed computational thinking (logical problem solving often in the form of computer code and algorithms) front and center in understanding how technology is shaping society and informing education. Computational thinking runs the Internet, Facebook, Google, and Smartphone applications and is threaded throughout our daily lives. In this course, we show how this concept can be integrated into a wide range of subjects including literature, art, music, health, the social and natural sciences, and mathematics. Using puzzles, geometric diagrams, counters, as well as programmable computers. For example, the relationships between characters in complex novels can be clarified by graphing the social network depicted in the text. We will explore the relationships between Renaissance Florentine families and the patterns of sexually activity among high school students. In visual art, music, and dance, processing algorithms provide a new medium for digital composition. Maze threading algorithms can enrich a variety of subjects (e.g., mathematics, visual art, mythology, history, and literature). The course will include a field trip to the Great Vermont Corn Maze. By the end of this course, participants will understand how to integrate computational thinking into their classroom as a way to excite students about technology and teach 21st century problem solving skills and support the new Common Core Standards. Participants will also complete a project-based learning experience.
Robert Snapp () and Maureen Neumann ()
DATES: July 15 - Aug 9, 2013; High school level algebra and geometry knowledge required; Pre and post course work will be assigned; Class meets July 22-Aug 5, 9am-1pm Mon-Fri in Waterman 539D; Fee: $45.00
Computational thinking encompasses the fundamental knowledge necessary for understanding our digital world, and for extending current and future computer technologies to the problems of the 21st century. This course delivers a suite of methods for integrating algorithmic and logical concepts into a wide range of subjects, including literature, art, music, health, the social and natural sciences, and mathematics. Using puzzles (e.g., solving Rubik?s cube and the Towers of Hanoi), geometric diagrams, and counters, computer science principles can be learned and practiced by students at every grade level. Our discussion of mazes and labyrinths, from their historical and cultural significance to the algorithms employed to solve them, includes a field trip to the Great Vermont Corn Maze. Mathematical graphs are constructed to clarify the relationships between characters in complex novels, the political dominance of the Medici family in the Italian Renaissance, and the patterns of sexual activity among high school students. Simple programs written in the Processing computer language are used to generate artistic designs and animations. Optional exercises extend computer programming to musical composition and scientific simulation. We also use Processing to visualize economic and sociological data obtained immediately from the Internet. By the end of this course, each participant will understand how to integrate computational thinking into the classroom, and will complete a project-based learning experience that implements new Common Core Standards.
The following performance tasks and activities will be used to evaluate/assess student performance in this course: 1. Active Participation and Thoughtful Discourse The success of an online course relies heavily on each person's active participation. Each student will be expected to post his/her thoughts about activities and class readings each week. In addition, students will be expected to respond to the postings of others, to ask in-depth questions, and to help all of us probe deeper. At times, I may ask students to work in small groups or to post and facilitate discussion questions. I will also ask students to review the work of others in the class and provide thoughtful and constructive feedback 2. Learning Essay During the course, each student will write a learning essay and post them in Blackboard?s journal utility. Each journal entry should provide evidence that the student has completed the required lessons and readings and is able to synthesize, analyze, and reflect on this information. Learning essays also provide students the opportunity to ask specific questions or to voice any concerns as the course progresses. 3. Quizzes These short formative assessments will be used to help understand participants content knowledge for computational thinking. 4. Standards-based Unit of Study Each teacher will create a standards-based unit using the computation thinking concept. Teachers will be asked to complete this task in stages. In this process, teachers will write drafts of their units in a web-based resource utility, such as Google Sites or Weebly. Teachers will also include a reflection on the purpose of the lesson, the research that grounds the lesson and the 5. Final Reflection For the last assignment, reflect on the unit you have created. How does it incorporate computational thinking? Where is it thoughtfully integrating the standards in computer science? How are you incorporating the research on computational thinking and 21st century learning?
Learning Essay 15% Quizzes 15% Standards-based Unit in Google Sites 35% Final Reflection 15% Discussion, Collaboration, Response to Prompts 20%
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