PD Course Helps Teachers Integrate Computational Thinking Concepts into Existing Coursework
CUPERTINO, Calif., March 22, 2016 — Curriki, the leading K-12 global community for creating, sharing, and finding Open Educational Resources (OER), today announced a new self-paced Professional Development (PD) course for K-12 teachers interested in learning how to infuse Computational Thinking (CT) into their classes. Available free of charge, Curriki has designed this course for humanities, math, and science teachers, as well as homeschoolers and computer science teachers. This course was developed with support from AT&T, as part of its AT&T Aspire initiative, to help educators teach students 21st century skills.
The course, titled Problem Solving through Computational Thinking for Educators, will provide teachers with an understanding of what CT is, why it is important, and ways they can incorporate CT skills into their classrooms. Comprised of five distinct “bite-sized” learning modules that introduce the concepts behind CT, this course will spark new ideas, expand teachers’ skill sets, and provide concrete ways for them to help their students excel at critical thinking and problem solving.
Problem Solving through Computational Thinking for Educators was developed to help teachers learn how to teach Computational Thinking from within their current curriculum. The course helps them learn how to infuse the CT concepts with recommended lessons, activities, and projects into what they’re already teaching.
What is Computational Thinking?
Computational thinking is learning to think in ways which allow us to solve problems more effectively and, when appropriate, to use computers to help us do so. Computational thinking gives students the tools to tackle problems by breaking them down into solvable chunks, identifying patterns, abstracting solutions, and devising algorithms to solve them. These skills enable students to think at multiple levels of abstraction so they can confidently solve complex problems and design systems. In fact, problem solving through Computational Thinking is such a critically important skill, it is directly or indirectly addressed by several sets of educational standards including:
- Computer Science Teachers Association K-12 Computer Science Standards
- Next Generation Science Standards
- Common Core State Standards for Mathematical Practice
“Whether a student’s career path involves biology, communications, engineering, or sales doesn’t matter—they all often involve solving big problems, dealing with big data sets and creating solutions. A skill set in problem solving using Computational Thinking opens doors for anyone in any area,” commented Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki. “Curriki is making computer science education possible for all students regardless of zip code and empowering them with skills that will be critical to the jobs of today and tomorrow.”
“We want to help all students develop the skills to succeed in school and the careers of the future. Ensuring educators have the resources and tools they need to teach those skills is a critical step in making this happen,” said Nicole Anderson, Assistant Vice President of Social Innovation at AT&T. “This free, new professional course from Curriki makes it easy for educators to incorporate Computational Thinking into their existing curriculum.”
“Youngsters instinctively use CT in their play and later find they must relearn computational thinking to successfully use modern and future technologies,” said D.E. Stevenson, Emeritus Associate Professor at School of Computing, Clemson University. “The Curriki CT PD course provides an excellent introduction to the CT framework for applying critical thinking to open-ended problems.”
A non-profit organization, Curriki is the leading K-12 global community for teachers, students and parents to create, share, and find open learning resources that help teachers inspire learning in their students and inspire students to learn more every day. A Computerworld Honors Laureate for 2012, Curriki was selected as the 21st Century Achievement Award winner for Digital Access. With more than 465,000 members and 82,000+ learning assets, Curriki reaches more than 11.5 million users worldwide. Join today library.curriki.org.
About Philanthropy & Social Innovation at AT&T
AT&T Inc. is committed to advancing education, strengthening communities and improving lives. Through its community initiatives, AT&T has a long history of investing in projects that create learning opportunities; promote academic and economic achievement; or address community needs. AT&T Aspire is AT&T’s signature philanthropic initiative that drives innovation in education by bringing diverse resources to bear on the issue including funding, technology, employee volunteerism, and mentoring. Through Aspire, we’ve passed the $250 million mark on our plan to invest $350 million in education from 2008-2017.