Tech Workshops for Teachers: Introducing Young Students to Coding

Tech Workshops for Teachers: Introducing Young Students to Coding

CTD class

Last summer, Northwestern’s Center for Talent Development enrolled more than 450 young students in eight new technology courses that introduced coding and robotics. Initial evaluations showed that the students, in preK through third grade, made strong gains made in learning new tech content as well as developing 21st-century problem-solving skills.

This winter, the Center for Talent Development (CTD) will share success stories and curriculum ideas through a series of three Tech Beginnings teacher workshops. These professional development sessions on Northwestern’s Evanston campus are open to all interested educators and are especially designed for early childhood and primary grade teachers and administrators. No previous technology or CTD experience is required to participate.

The Tech Beginnings professional development series takes place in three sessions from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on February 16, February 23 and March 1:

Session 1: Why Coding?
Coding teaches powerful ideas, such as logic, critical thinking and problem solving, that are relevant to all kinds of learning. This initial session will discuss the concepts of computer programming that are especially relevant and meaningful to young students and will demonstrate some of the best applications and games for teaching coding and animation in early childhood and primary classrooms.

Session 2: Machines, Not Magic
Children should be active creators and users of technology, not passive consumers. Learning about robotics and mechanical engineering helps young students understand how technology works and helps prepare them for advanced studies in computer science. This session will discuss and demonstrate “tangible tech” tools like Bee-Bot robots that teach coding through hands-on kinesthetic learning activities.

Session 3: Bridging, Extending and Expanding
This final session will look at ways to connect coding activities to other subject areas, such as language arts and math, and will explore ways to extend and expand students’ initial experiences with coding into higher-level computer science studies. Topics will also include strategies for encouraging girls and other underrepresented groups to pursue computer science studies.

Online registration for the Tech Beginnings series is available through the Center for Talent Development. CTD early childhood coordinator Ann Gadzikowski is leading the series. The cost for the series is $150, and CPDU credit is available.

The Center for Talent Development, which is part of Northwestern University’s School of Education and Social Policy, is a leading research center in the field of gifted education and talent development. Through online, assessment, summer, weekend, and civic engagement programs, CTD serves more than 25,000 families annually. CTD also supports K-12 schools through graduate-level educator training programs, professional development programs, and consulting and evaluation services.

By Center for Talent Development and Marilyn Sherman
Last Modified: 1/27/16