Misconceptions about Introducing Computer Science to your Classroom
1. Being unable to teach computer science without one to one devices
While one to one devices might be an ideal situation, it is not necessary to develop vital skills. In fact, Code.org – a non-profit organisation focused on expanding access to and increasing participating in computer science in schools, actually recommends a technique called ‘pair programming’. Pair programming allows students to support and guide each other when completing computer science activities, while developing other vital skills like teamwork and communication. The Sphero BOLT education packs come in sets of 15, and can be used for many activities that small groups can do, with each person in the group taking on an individual responsibility.
2. Students are too young to understand coding
Many studies have shown that developing basic coding and computer science skills from a young age will increase their chances of staying engaged with STEM learning as they get older. Many tech companies have released products and software that are targeted at the younger market as they understand the benefits of it. If it was kept and introduced at an older age, many children already have preconceived ideas and opinions about technology and this may be more difficult to change.
3. “I haven’t had any computer science training, so I can’t teach it”
Absolutely not. Most, almost all teachers will not have a background in the science and technology fields, but they can still create great lessons and activities to help pupils discover Computer Science and develop their skills further. A lot of companies publish teacher packs that include activities, lesson plans and any resources that educators will need to successfully implement this into the curriculum. Take the Teacher Success Pack for example, which includes teacher and student access to great programmes such as Class Connect and Dash’s Neighbourhood as well as a teacher professional development course. It has all you need to get started.
4. It is too hard to merge with core subjects
While it is important that you highlight when coding and computer programming are being used in your classroom, it is not necessary to have them in totally separate lessons. Often the best STEM/computer programming lessons are interdisciplinary as students can clearly see how the skills that they are developing link to the real world. Take a maths lesson for example, after discussing the idea of perimeter or angles, students could use the Sphero Maze Tape to create a course for their robots to follow, while actively measuring out the distance they are travelling and angles that they are turning – what a fun way to learn Maths!
Comment down below with any misconceptions that you had before starting to teach computer science – we can bet your initial opinions have changed!