Step up to Computer Science – Tips for teachers

Even if your school does not offer Information Technology as a subject, and even if you have no formal training in computer science, you can still introduce your learners to basic computer science concepts as part of their digital literacy lessons or perhaps as an extra-mural activity.

Recently Bonolo Sedupane featured in a Microsoft Virtual Academy encouraging teachers to ‘Step up to Computer Science’. She gave a range of tips for setting up a computer science class for younger learners, including:

  • arrange the working spaces to encourage collaboration
  • use wall space to present ideas
  • ensure computers are available, but don’t feel that that you need to use them in every lesson.
  • Create a culture where students feel safe and valued
  • Empower students to be teachers as well as learners

Teachers wanting to develop computer science skills among older learners should:

  • Aim for a dynamic space that mirrors the real world
  • Make use of social media to connect with other teachers and learners and to stay abreast of new developments
  • Increase student engagement through personalisation
  • Differentiate work so students can master basics and pursue own interests 
  • Have extension activities available
  • Bring experts into class via Skype

Whilst the Virtual Academy focuses on the South African context, teachers are also encouraged to complete the ‘Step up to Computer Science’ course on the Microsoft Educator Community which gives a global perspective. This course covers topics for educators looking to start a computer science program in their school, are curious how other educators run their computer science program, or would like to integrate computer science skills into other subjects. 

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