I am a middle school computer science teacher. It's what I do. I LOVE my job. I also often speak at universities, blog, tweet, and just generally build as many relationships in the education world as I can. In my travels, I have heard the following scenario at least a dozen times (probably more, but I am prone to exaggeration, so I'll stop at a dozen).
Hi, Clint. I'm a Librarian for Generic Area School District in Upper Generic County. My school is phasing out the Library curriculum and turning our Libraries into [ultimate action-packed / STEM / cafe-related / Multi-media adjectives] Centers. I'm being asked to teach a Middle School [Coding / Game Design / STEM / STEAM] Class, and I know nothing about this stuff. I think they're trying to get rid of me.
(Random teacher)I often point said teacher to my class website and give them my email and twitter handle, typically to never hear from them again. I get it. It's overwhelming. In this series, I hope to give all such teachers some very practical guides to rolling this out now. I'm only going to focus on tools and curriculum resources that are:
- Free - Some will have Freemium features, but I don't use those.
- Are web-based or require minimal resources to install
- Are appropriate for 6th-9th Graders (for Sr. High kids, go check out Kyle McAllister).
- Are easy to deploy tomorrow even if you have no idea what you're doing.
Part 1: Programming (and BONUS: game design)
I'm going to include game design development with programming because I consider programming to be akin to learning Arithmetic (basic math facts) and game development similar to applying said concepts in Algebra or Calculus. Game design would then be using said applied concepts to make something beautiful and fun to use with said concepts, similar to how an engineer designs an automobile.