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CSSE Coding with Scratch presentation June 2019

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Presentation at CSSE att UBC in June, 2019

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CSSE Coding with Scratch presentation June 2019

  1. 1. Students teaching students: Introductory coding using Scratch Mike Nantais, Ph.D. (Brandon University) Matteo DiMuro, B.Ed., M.Ed. (Vincent Massey High School, Brandon, MB) Eleni Galatsanou-Tellidis, B.Ed., M.Sc. (Crocus Plains Regional Secondary School, Brandon, MB) TATE
  2. 2. Research Purpose
  3. 3. Background: What are Computational Thinking Skills? Image from Balanskat, A. & Engelhardt, K. (2015). Computing our future. Computer programming and coding: Priorities, school curricula and initiatives across Europe. European Schoolnet: Brussles, Belgium. Retrieved from http://www.eun.org/c/document_library/get_ file?uuid=521cb928-6ec4-4a86-b522-9d8fd5cf60ce&groupId=43887
  4. 4. Background: Why Teach CT and Coding?
  5. 5. Background: Why Teach CT and Coding?
  6. 6. Study Background Collaborative study - 2 Brandon high school teachers & Faculty of Education Prof. City of approx. 50, 000 people (2016 census). 22 schools in BSD, area K-8 schools targeted, 2 taken part so far. http://ontheworldmap.com/
  7. 7. Study Background/Process Students in a grade 11/12 Computer Science class are recruited (voluntarily) to take part in teaching Scratch to local grade 7 & 8 students. Grade 7 & 8 teachers in area schools are recruited to take part in the project. Teachers are interviewed. * Note: this project is still in progress - results presented are tentative.
  8. 8. Data Sources ● Pre & Post Surveys for students (SY & MY) ● Student focus groups (SY & MY) ● Teacher interviews ● In class observations
  9. 9. Preliminary Findings & Conclusions
  10. 10. Data to date: ● 4 classes (grades 7 & 8) in 2 schools ● Teacher interviews: 3 (one teacher has been involved 2x) ● 3 SY focus groups ● 4 MY focus groups ● Pre-surveys: SY N = 5, MY N = 33 ● Post surveys*: SY N = 14, MY N = 39 ● Classes observed by PI: 3 sessions
  11. 11. So what did the high school students say about teaching Scratch to MY students?
  12. 12. ● ● ● ● ● ● Senior Years Student Pre Survey Data
  13. 13. Senor Years Student Post Surveys Data:
  14. 14. Post survey/focus group results: Senior Years Students 1) Teaching to MY students did not overall revolutionize what they already knew about CS concepts. 2) SY students: critical thinking and problem solving skills were improved. 3) New respect for teachers and learners. 4) MY students benefited by practicing how to be self-motivated learners. 5) MY students benefited by being introduced to algorithmic thinking (a skill they were lacking).
  15. 15. “Helped turn the abstract nature of computer science thinking into concrete terms … forced us to think of things in a different way, teaching us new things about something old.” “People tend to learn at different paces, and explaining it one way didn’t work for everyone.”
  16. 16. “Showing them the end goal, or end possibilities, is what got them interested in wanting to learn Scratch.” “Teaching kids is less about teaching them than to get them to teach themselves. They had the ability to do it, you just have to find a way to make them want to do it.”
  17. 17. “One of the hardest things was you’d teach them something, and then they’d forget. Or if you changed the context of the problem, then they’d be lost. A lot of people really needed the step by step list on how to do something.” “I think it teaches more than just computer science, it teaches them how to work toward an end goal, a step by step process to reach the goal, and the skills needed to do that. The things they learned in this course could apply to so many different fields, I think.”
  18. 18. So what did the MY students say about learning Scratch?
  19. 19. Results from Middle Years Students 1) Most students enjoyed the experience and thought it was valuable. 2) Most girls decided they were not interested in CS as a potential field of employment. Male interest also went down after the teaching. 3) Many students felt their problem solving skills were increased, or had more confidence in their abilities to find solutions to their problems.
  20. 20. “When you had to code, you had to think, and it was sort of like a puzzle.” “Keeping your code organized.”
  21. 21. “I would test an idea, and if it didn’t work, I’d try something different, and try again. The puzzle pieces of code really helped because some things didn’t fit together and others do.” “At first it was confusing, there were so many different tabs and buttons, but once we got the hang of it [by about 3rd session] it got easy.”
  22. 22. So what did the teachers say about having SY kids teach Scratch to MY students?
  23. 23. Results from Teachers Teachers were positive about the project. They told us about … Students who coded outside of the lessons, even some continuing after the sessions were completed. How the MY students were (mostly) engaged and learned to ask questions, and to help one another. Some noticed problem solving skills improving in other areas (eg math class).
  24. 24. “I don’t know how to code, so this seemed like a good opportunity” “The benefits were student engagement, and learning a new skill. There was a lot of independent learning happening.” “A huge skill for the students to learn was being able to do something step by step.”
  25. 25. “The high school students were always trying something new, and tackling the challenges they faced in teaching the middle years (MY) students. They spoke the same ‘language’ as the MY students.” “Some of my students who were typically very shy actually became the “go to” people for help in the class for coding.” “Kids spent a lot of time being creative, and building different things in Scratch.”
  26. 26. On algorithmic thinking: “I’ve used the examples from Scratch to demonstrate to my students that you can’t skip a step in an algorithm, or it doesn’t work. Also the language we learned during Scratch has carried over.” “Writing and communication skills--communication skills being the main one.” “Following directions, and being able to stay focused--we had kids who generally can’t stay focused for long periods of time, but during the Scratch lessons they didn’t want to lose their spot and were focused the whole time”.
  27. 27. Some Preliminary Conclusions This approach of ‘students teaching students’ appears to have benefits for all involved, for example: ● Can be a way to introduce teachers without a computer science background to coding/CT. ● Helps students develop critical thinking skills. ● SY students solidify their coding skills and learn to plan and communicate ideas to others. ● MY students can be introduced to coding in a fun, non threatening way, this may lead to further interest in coding (Computer Science).
  28. 28. Thank you! @mfnantais @el_gal @MatteoDiMuro