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Algorithmic & Design Thinking for All Learners with JavaScript

Workshop Spotlight | November 18, 2019

Computer science teachers often face a false dichotomy between code and design. Strictly teaching design can disengage students who have an appreciation for algorithmic thinking, while focusing only on scripting can alienate more visual students. This past spring, MƒA teachers explored methods aimed to bridge the gap between code and design and unlock an innovative world of computer science for their students through one of our courses.

The mini-course “Algorithmic and Design Thinking for All Learners with JavaScript,” allowed MƒA teachers to experiment with JavaScript, one of the most popular programming languages, through trial and error, discovering new ways to provide students with relevant and real-life applications. “Often times, coding basics can provide feedback that is lackluster. JavaScript gives you instant gratification. Students can have feedback, like seeing a literal lightbulb go off, without a teacher watching. It is very rewarding,” shared MƒA Master Teacher Maggie Weinreb.

This course also allowed teachers to tackle coding challenges from multiple entry points. Regardless of their familiarity with JavaScript, participants shared best practices to work through the materials and find solutions. “This course was faithful to what real developers face,” said MƒA Master Teacher Marisa Shuman. “We were led to think about user experience and how to refine products over time, allowing for more divergent problem solving.”

Both Marisa and Maggie know the power of the growing field of computer science. However, the resources teachers need to advance in this field are not always accessible. Marisa added, “There is currently no certification process in New York State for computer science teaching, and many teachers have to find their own ways to learn. My favorite place to turn to for computer science learning is always MƒA.”

Learn more about MƒA’s computer science opportunities in the Fall 2019-2020 course catalog.