Monday, September 15, 2014

Google CS-First

I was searching for resources to teach computer science just over a month ago and came across this site - Google CSFirst.  Not really knowing what it was, I went ahead and registered my school and an advocate, volunteer and guru...all at the same time.  All I know is that I will do anything to inspire my students to grow and learn in all areas, but in particular, those with a STEM focus.  It turns out that Google CSFirst, with its club framework as a way to introduce 4th -8th grade students to coding and computer science, is a fantastic way to do just this.

I then go ahead and order a loaner set of headphones along with the peripheral materials offered on the site.  Within a week or two, my materials arrived and I was so impressed!  The support that Google CSFirst has provided along the way to implementation has been tremendous. There were student passports, sticker-badges, detailed scripted directions, certificates of completion and even post-it notes.  Every detail was thought out and planned for which made it really easy to implement with my students.

The teacher dashboard comes with an agenda timer to keep the sessions on track and to remind me as the teacher host about the pacing.  One of my favorite parts about the program is the showcase time where projects get shown to the class and we all celebrate learning together.

The club format is an ideal way to introduce students of all walks of life to coding through engaging themes such as "Game Design," "Sound and Music," and "Storytelling."  In a safe and fun environment, yet at the same time full of challenging and engaging activities, students are truly learning by doing.  In my mind, there is no better way for them to be introduced to, and more importantly, catch the 'coding bug.'

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