More than 100
students and faculty from the University of New Brunswick’s faculty of education
participated in a workshop entitled “Teaching for the Future: Computational
Thinking in Teaching and Practice” recently.

Future teachers were encouraged to incorporate computational thinking practices into their classrooms, so they are prepared to teach students fundamental computing ideas that are an essential part of K-12 education in the 21st century.

The workshop,
hosted by UNB’s faculty of computer science, was sponsored by Google’s Computer
Science for High School program. It introduced future teachers from the faculty
of education to the concept of computational thinking through engaging guest
speakers, interactive activities, and facilitated discussions. 

The purpose of
the event was to encourage future teachers to incorporate computational
thinking practices into their classrooms, so they are prepared to teach students
fundamental computing ideas that are an essential part of K-12 education in the
21st century. Through this teaching and learning, more students will become
aware of and choose careers in the information and communication technology
sector. 

During the
workshop, teachers from Riverview High School and Leo Hayes High School shared
their successes in teaching computer science and computational thinking. They provided
examples of students who were so inspired they would come to class early, stay
in class during lunch break and remain after school to ask for more homework.

Throughout the
day, participants in the Teaching for the Future workshop participated in five
different activities, teaching computer science concepts such as logic, sorting
networks, binary counting, parity, and encryption.  The participants were also given physical and
electronic resources to facilitate the incorporation of these activities in
their own classrooms. 

In the
afternoon, participants brainstormed with peers and representatives from the
faculty of computer science about ways to incorporate computational thinking in
their future classrooms in all areas of the curriculum. A final group
discussion summarized the findings and left students with an overall
understanding of the day’s events. As one participant noted, “At the end of the
day, I certainly saw the point – we, as educators, need to include problem
solving, logic-based, and higher order activities in our teaching.”

The faculty of computer
science wishes to thank the faculty of education for its partnership, and Google
for its financial support. The faculty of computer sciences hopes to make the
workshop an annual event.

For more
information about computational thinking or the Teaching for the Future
workshop, please contact Debbie McAnany at mcanany@unb.ca

For interview requests, contact Greg Carriere at gregoire.carriere@unb.ca or (506) 453-4546.

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