Elementary Has Big Plans to Boost Computational Thinking with Tech Standards

Our Instructional Technology Specialists recently returned from the 2022 ISTE Conference in New Orleans. That 's the International Society for Technology in Education. One major focus at the heart of the sessions offered was a need to embed more computational thinking into classroom instruction. Our teachers in Madison City do a fantastic job covering instructional standards, targeting and meeting the needs of students, and wearing multiple other hats outside of their actual job title. How often though are our students truly thinking critically about what they are learning? Most agree that there is a need to increase opportunities for students to identify and work though problems, develop and ask their own questions, take risks, and engage in productive struggle. Luckily, the computational thinking strand of the Digital Literacy and Computer Science standards lays the perfect foundation for this type of high level thinking. The computational thinking strand breaks the process of critical thinking and problem solving into manageable categories such as abstraction, decomposition, and creating algorithms or patterns. It's easy to assume that DLCS standards refer solely to technology usage, however the elementary computational thinking standards are all about the human skill of problem solving. It's about learning to think like a computer; but who taught the computer how to think? Humans! Humans who were great computational thinkers at that. Our Elementary Instructional Technology Specialist and the 1:1 Workforce have been working diligently over the summer to prepare a DLCS resource bank for our classroom teachers.

This support piece will provide high quality, pre-made activities that connect DLCS standards to ELA, Math, Science, and Social Studies standards, and computational thinking is at the forefront for the 1st semester. It's hard to not get excited when perusing through the activities our workforce has already created. Conducting and presenting online research in K-2, "debugging" our classroom routines, interpreting cyphers during history studies, and learning the unplugged concepts of coding through literature just to name a few. This resource bank should serve as a treasure trove of fun and easy to use resources for our K-5 classroom teachers! In additional to our resource bank, our media specialists will be upping the level of classroom collaboration this year to boost the DLCS global collaboration standards. We are also building partnerships between classroom teachers, the Elementary Instructional Technology Specialist, STEM, and high school computer science students to bring more true coding into our elementary classrooms! Our Elementary Math Specialist and Instructional Technology Specialist are also working on a shared framework for problem solving. Our goal is to translate the confidence our teachers and students will build with computational thinking this year into a district wide problem solving process that boosts students' ability to tackle, not only academic problems but the relevant problems of their everyday life. It's going to be an exciting year, full of academic growth as well as growth in the real world 21st century skills of critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity (the 4 Cs).