Garth does not have enough to do so PD here he comes

“It would seem about time a PD designed around problem solving, program troubleshooting, pedagogy, project based programming, what languages are good for teaching what, tech issues and so on was offered.”  I am diving in.  Montana does two week long PDs for entry level teachers, one using Mobile CSP (App Inventor) and another using The Joy and Beauty of Computing (Python).  These are funded by an NSF grant.  I need to figure this out.  I also do not want to reinvent the wheel.  If something like this has been done I will not be shy, I will plagiarize the ever-loving heck out of it.  If anyone knows of something that is presently offered please let me know.

Several years ago I started to build a CS Methods course with the intent of proposing it to my local university.  From what I hear from friends I know that work at my local university in the CS and Education departments the university’s senior people’s philosophy towards teacher CS education is closely related to “magic occurs” and denial.  So I have this initial brainstorm of ideas I started to build.  I think with a little hand waving and organization I can start to make a five-day PD with this material.

Originally I was thinking of a semester long course so I may have to rethink the depth of my original approach.  Just a bit.

Course goal – introduce prospective and experienced CS/programming teachers to the fundamentals of teaching CS/programming.  Share ideas among attendees.  Start a cohort of teachers to spread the gospel of how to teach CS.  Get things moving so Montana students can do more than play Fortnite on a computer.

Concepts to cover in course:

Why teach programming or CS?

Capturing kids interest – Robots, Games, Turtle graphics, iPod/Droid apps, micro:bit

Programming language review – pros/cons/good/bad/ugly – just what is out there – Python, Java, Alice, VB. Mindstorms Lego Robotics – NXT, RobotC, EV3, GameMaker, Scratch, Small Basic, MakeCode, ???

Free resources

Textbooks and tutorials

Language types

Line code – Small Basic

Drag and drop line code – Alice, App Inventor, MakeCode

Icon – Kudo

Fundamentals of programming




Types of errors

Installing software

Commenting and documentation

Top down/bottom up design

Naming conventions

Algebra vs programming syntax – x=x+1

Grading rubrics

Assignment goals

Parson’s projects

Sub goal labeling

What I need now are suggestions.  I also need to start looking for sources/references that will give credence to these ideas so people know they are not just ideas I pull out of thin air.



2 Responses to “Garth does not have enough to do so PD here he comes”

  1. Mrs.Pollard Says:

    I’m with you. Are you thinking of a collaborative approach to PD- like teachers teach teachers a la Twitter Math Camp?

  2. gflint Says:

    The experience level is so low in Montana that it would not work real well. What I do have is a couple of teachers that were professional software developers prior to going into education. I foresee people with that experience discussing the development/design process which is one of my weak areas. I do not want this to be a coding camp, we have a couple of those. They really do not help teaches learn to teach CS. In all of Montana there may be 30 CS/programming teachers. Of those maybe 5 consider themselves CS/programming teachers. The rest are business or something else teachers that are try their best to survive.

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