Computer Science for Teachers

Would you like to take a course in Computer Science? If you’re a teacher, I hope the answer to this question is “YES!” However, I have worked with teachers, trying to help them learn about computers, for more than 20 years, and I am shocked by the number of teachers who do not want to learn.

What do Computer Scientists do? Mostly, work with people. Computer Science is all about people. Quoting Dr Chuck, one of America’s best computer scientists (Univ of Michigan): “Computers are built to help people.” Computer Science is the art of teaching a computer what to do. Why? So that it can help people.

According to Google, there are four levels in a computer system: 1. Hardware 2. Operating system 3. Applications 4. User. Of these four levels, the User is by far the most important. This is the single most important lesson of Computer Science — we must help the user.

For teachers, our job is to design learning experiences that help the user — i.e. the learner. We must design student-centred lessons that offer the most advantages and the least barriers to a kid on a laptop. Experts point out that our lessons must be engaging, user-friendly, innovative and fun. Designing these lessons is complicated and human-centred. It requires lots of trial and error, feedback and testing. This is a classic problem in Computer Science.

Now that we are embarking on a journey of blended learning, where every teacher is working on a computer from home, the world of teaching is divided into two camps. The first camp is those who learn quickly and enthusiastically about how to communicate with computers. They will dive into the amazing world of networked learning and learn how to use the internet. The second camp is those who hesitate because they are timid. They will soon be forgotten.

I hope that every teacher who is reading this blog decides to be fearless, to embrace change, and to learn about computers.

Mick Purcell
Head of School

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