A COMPUTING WORKSHOP FOR UPDATING MIDDLE SCHOOL COMPUTER SCIENCE PROGRAMS
Lamar University (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2011 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Conference name: 5th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2011
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:While computer education may not be a mandatory program in Texan middle schools, it is important to recognize how computer science knowledge can assist our students’ understanding today’s world including their learning of other subjects. However, many current public teachers may not be equipped with the most current knowledge available for the teaching of recent published programs that are suitable for middle school students. We designed a one-week summer computing workshop to serve as an engine to prepare middle school teachers’ techniques and knowledge to initiate or improve the local computer science education in the public middle school. With the participation of several undergraduate and graduate students, our workshop were able to adopt a hand-on and a small group learning setting that allowed participating public teachers to learn the following Alice and Scratch programs. The design of the workshop is to improve the interactive learning circumstances in order to make sure that the participants are able to successfully operate programs learned in the workshop. Our quantitative and qualitative assessments suggest that the workshop is an effective educational platform for public teachers’ career development and technological education in middle schools. The results persuade us that such type of workshop can be a good model to assist computer technology programs in middle schools. It may efficiently help update the ever changing technologies that can be introduced in middle school computer science programs. The participants’ feedback suggested some insights that may improve our future design of the workshop. Our student assistants served as software instructors and tutors also reported positive research and teaching experiences learned in the workshop.
Keywords: Computing workshop, middle school teachers, Scratch, Alice, and assessment.