CS Teacher Series: How Computer Science Has Changed my Classroom By Adam Newall

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National Computer Science Education Week is this week and we will be participating in a number of events in the area. We are also proud to feature local computer science teachers as a guest bloggers right here on the Microsoft New England blog. Each of these teachers inspired with their creative and thoughtful commitment to education. ~Aimee Sprung, Civic Engagement Manager – Microsoft New England.

My classroom has changed with computer science because my students are presented with a skill that is not shrink-wrapped to be used at a later date. They can use it now and for the rest of their lives. They are able to be curious and creative, and in the next moment see their idea come to life. Knowing that they can create and test theories and ideas, even if in a virtual world, is an incredibly empowering skill. They accept that failing is part of the learning process when they learn to code. They may be disappointed at times, but are never discouraged. Instead, they learn that debugging creates stronger programs. They delight in their accomplishments because they know the obstacles it took to get there. My students have evolved from being just students into becoming collaborative dreamers and creators.

1.) Computer science has benefited our school by creating an awareness that the future is not something that we are a spectator to. We are now active participants in shaping our world. It’s just as possible that the next big idea could come from a first period class on a Friday morning instead of Silicon Valley.

2.) Students learn to fail. There is nothing wrong in failing as long as we learn from the experience. That is a concept foreign to students, but once they learn the art of failing, they become more resilient and confident in their skills.

3.) Computer science gives other subjects a new dimension. Students have for eternity asked, “When are we going to need to know this?” With computer science, they know right away that our world isn’t so big anymore and technology is incorporated into every subject and area of life.

I chose to teach computer science because it is a skill that is necessary for students to become active participants in the world. No longer does anyone have to accept the world the way it is if they know how to change it. Knowing how to shape technology is knowing how to shape our world.

Adam Newall is in his seventh year teaching at Pembroke Community Middle School in Pembroke, MA. He teaches an 8th grade math applications class and two levels of a computer programming elective using the Bootstrap curriculum to 7th and 8th grade students. He also co-advises an after school tech club, the Nerds In Training (Nits).

To learn more about Microsoft’s commitment to youth and education, visit our YouthSpark Hub or follow us on twitter at @msftcitizenship.

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