There are some amazing conversations occurring on building equitable foundations for students in the area of Computer Science. Infosys Foundation USA granted me the opportunity to attend Computer Science training at the University of Indiana Bloomington this past summer. I believed they made a beneficial investment in over 500 teachers, including myself, teaching us about various aspects of computer science.
I gained knowledge, confidence, resources, and empowerment for using Scratch at the 2018 Pathfinders Summer Institute. The week-long training and full immersion of diverse and passionate educators was a welcomed experience. I was challenged as a learner as I navigated through the Scratch coursework. Classmates and I functioned in the capacity that put us in the seat of the students we served. We collaborated, celebrated and discussed the best practices we would take into our classrooms.
The training received during the summer institute was an imperative component to CS planning and implementation of my upcoming classes.
Currently, my classes are doing SCRATCH:CS First Storytelling and Scratch Jr. curriculums. Students are more engaged and independently invested in their projects. I have seen them overcome frustrations, delve into critical thinking and complex scenarios in ways not explored before. I recognized how the new CS skills they have gained has given them confidence, strengthened peer relationships and provided an outlet for creativity and innovation. In my K-8 building, I serve students who are using Scratch Jr. and Scratch. Working in both programs I offer student voice and choice, to elevate their stories into a digital component.
My students come from homes without the latest technology, internet or the ability to explore their cognitive interests outside of school. But through the CS experiences in our class, students can bridge concepts with actualities using their creativity and innovative perspectives. Students are beginning to see beyond our school’s four walls and express an interest to explore real-world experiences.
I am looking forward to expanding the accessibility for using Scratch by introducing the curriculum to fellow educators. I have collaborated with EdTechTeam to provide CS First training sessions. Typically, I seek out interactions with teachers at EdCamps and local network events, who would like to provide quality Computer Science experiences. It is unfortunate teachers are not familiar with accessible Computer Science options or do not have the training to begin. I consider it paying it forward to fellow educators who aspire to provide quality CS experiences for students. This cycle of enrichment for adults and students interested in Computer Science began with a gift from Infosys Foundation USA.