Think like a coder. Think like a planner.
Think like digital teaching assistant (DTA).
Computational thinking is really concrete planning.
Coding is really concrete planning. It has two advantages: It is a marketable skill and it can be taught mostly by computer. Here is a video designed to introduce the ideas of programming to children. It also illustrates how the DTA can be used in teaching beginners.
- Watch on YouTube
- Starring Hedge as the Digital Teaching Assistant (DTA)
- Think like a coder series
- Computational thinking is really concrete planning.
- So teaching computational thinking also teaches planning.
- Learning to think like a coder calls for problem-solving.
- So courses in coding are also teaching problem-solving.
The role of the DTA
- In this episode, the DTA plays the role of the mentor (think Yoda) .
- Because this episode is a play, the DTA actions can be planned in advance.
- In this episode, the student merely sees a problem being solved.
- Children learn by imitation, so this can be a learning experience.
- But further learning requires active use of what has been learned.
- For active learning the DTA would present problems and coach the student to figure out solutions.
- Coding mistakes can be caught by the computer, so practice costs nothing.
- And the computer can give immediate feedback.
The narrative as instructional strategy
- The narrative starts by presenting the problem in human terms.
- Traditional instruction starts with an assignment to learn about iterative loops.
- The narrative presents a problem and shows how an iterative loop solves it.
- The narrative presents learning as problem-solving.
Expand the role of the learner
- Active learning requires that the learner do something.
- Here that would mean that the learner participate in problem-solving.
- In the narrative, the DTA asks the learner for help.
- "What procedure do I use here?"
- With a situation like Episode 1, the correct answer would be an iteration loop.
- The DTA might offer a list of procedures for the student to select from.
- The DTA can immediately evaluate the response.
- What if it is wrong? My preference is that the DTA gives a hint.
- The DTA has an ordered list from barely helpful to really obvious.
- The student's score depends on how many hints were needed.
- Thus the student benefits from knowing the answer immediately.
- The DTA tracks each student's hint needs for each challenge.
- Students who need hints, get another challenge that requires a similar answer.
- Thus the objective is the bring all students to mastery.
- Building Essential Skills Through Computational Thinking
- We need a global reskilling revolution – here's why
- Quick quotes about solutions and the problems that made them
- The Deer-in-the-Headlight Model for Problem-Solving
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