Meridith Ebbs (iMerinet)▸ Discussion


I have question about teaching computational thinking in English in secondary. Has anyone done it? What outcomes are you using?

In primary I can teach address English outcomes by writing recounts, procedures, game reviews and reports about our activities.

How do you do this in secondary when you are an English teacher? 

PS I am in NSW and we don't have the Digital Technologies Curric. We have to teaching with the other NSW curriculums.


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one plus one, 7 comments

  • Suzie “Fedsie” Feodoroff: I’m wondering if this might be a useful resource. I bookmarked it a while ago but haven’t really explored it as yet. https://www.google.com/edu/resources/programs/exploring-computational-thinking/index.html Has lessons and examples for K-12.
  • Bruce Fuda: Hi + Meridith Ebbs  – I’m not too familiar with the NSW English curriculum so am not quite sure where it may fit (i.e. year levels etc), but given the expectations of the 7-10 DT curriculum, one option might be to check out something like Inform. Inform is an interactive fiction platform that allows students to write interactive stories using natural language. The website is  http://inform7.com/ It requires students to think very carefully about the language and syntax they use to define the environments within the story and how the reader might choose to interact with the environment. It also encourages sharing – the whole intention is for other students to “play” their story, and that opens up dialogue for communication, feedback and suggestions for improvements from others. Coincidentally, it also addresses many of the 7-8 DT CDs in the Australian Curriculum, and probably lines up with elements of the Year 10 IST course. We’ve run sessions on the platform with secondary teachers down here in the ACT before and it went down quite well. It can be a little tricky at first, but the resources available in the application itself provide good examples of how to write valid IF syntax for a range of interactions.
  • Meridith Ebbs (iMerinet): Thanks + Bruce Fuda I will definitely look at the resource. I think the solution is integrated themes across faculties. Eg: physics of dance and the maths of music. But early days for that.
  • Bruce Fuda: Integration is necessary, but so few schools are willing to dive in and do it. I know the HSC is seen as getting in the way in the senior years, and the prescriptive NSW syllabus makes it harder for you guys too. Otis frustrating that all of the research points to doing things differently, but policy and regulation keeps things from changing.
  • Meridith Ebbs (iMerinet): Agreed. Stage 5 should give more flexibility but exam policy gets in the way of PBL and integration 🙁
  • Katrina Falkner: There are some very interesting opportunities for integration here. I can see benefit in developing games based around the plot lines of stories – this could represent a crossover between English, drama and digital tech. There are also some interesting ideas coming out of a new space called digital humanities – using code to analyse texts to try to extract information such as graphs of character interactions. The Hamlet network graphs are one example that might be suitable for a later year research project, perhaps? http://dasil.grinnell.edu/2014/11/a-network-analysis-of-shakespeares-plays/
  • Bruce Fuda: I really do like that there are opportunities for integration, particularly when we start with the DT curriculum – that was always the intent of the writers when it was put together. It is unfortunate that structures in schools, particularly when assessment is standardised, don’t really create an environment where teachers are encouraged to look for these opportunities though. I like to think that it is these kinds of PL opportunities and discussions that contribute to a culture that pushes for these kinds of changes to occur, however it always feels to me as if that change is going to take a generation – that it relies on current executive staff in schools and education departments to retire to make way for those who get it. Meanwhile, the kids currently in school suffer, even though we know – based on sound research – that without the change we’re failing them. It is absurd that there is such a reluctance to change embedded in the culture of most schools, particularly in the secondary space. Must remain positive though – there are great educators doing fantastic things in schools, and eventually this should create the change we need.

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