STE[a]M, App Flows, and Common Sense.

A few months back, I did a series of posts titled, "Hey computer teachers, stop wasting students' time". There I laid out the the basic premise that computer class, if it is to have value, should cover Computer Science topics.


I wanted to follow those posts up with some really practical posts for computer teachers, particularly those of us from the BCIT certification, who tend to lack of hard-core Information Technology experience. It's easy, after all, to say we need to spend more time teaching students coding, programming, dynamic systems design & analysis, and end-user experience and less time teaching keyboarding, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, but how do we make that transition?

Today I'm going to introduce one tool that is relatively new, but growing quickly in popularity.

Common Sense Media App flows

Rather than attempt an lengthy explanation, here's the video from Common Sense Media.



Game Design Flows

Game design, in this context, does not necessarily equal game development or programming, per se. Game Design is concerned with studying the concepts behind the basic elements of a game, and how the balance of fun and challenge in games creates flow. It is also concerned with the iteration feedback loop and how games are a complex system designed around creating a satisfying user experience. Game design is a great jumping off point for introducing STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) learning through the lens of systems-thinking and user-centered design. Working with these complex concepts requires creativity and critical thinking in generous amounts. Basically, students have to figure out how a user is going to interact with a system that hasn't been invented yet. Further, the iterative feedback loop requires collaboration. Here are some app flows to get you started with Game Design in your CIT class.

Intro to Game Design (designing engaging end-user experience)

In this app flow, I show you how to use Gamestar Mechanic and Edmodo to set up a student driven workshop in Game Design and end-user experience. 
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Iterative Design with the Portal 2 Puzzle Maker

In this app flow, by Steven Isaacs, students will learn the basics of game design as they create their own levels in Portal 2 and work with peers to peer test and iterate on their design.
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Coding & Programming Flows

Careers in Computer and Information Technology are growing and are well compensated. Software developers, for example, make an average of $90,530 per year or $43.52 per hour, and that field, like most in CIT is growing at 30% (much faster than the national average, a measly 12%). This is why so many industry leaders, politicians, and celebrities have gotten behind projects like Code.org. Let's take a look at some app flows on the development side of things.



Coding & Programming: An introduction

How to set up a self-paced student driven workshop in Programming Concepts
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Introduction to Computer Programming


Marcello introduces students to programming and the career of being a programmer.

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Other STE[a]M / Maker Flows

Here are some other Flows from Anna P. that you may be interested as a Computer Technology teacher.


Simple Circuits

Students will explain what electricity is, build simple circuits to light a bulb and turn on a motor, and persuade others to conserve electricity.
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Conductors and Insulators

Students will learn about the properties of conductors and insulators, test materials for conductivity, and extend their thinking of what a conductor can be
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Parting shots... er thoughts.

Again, you can always check out more App Flows at Graphite. There's a lot there for classroom teachers as well. Also, consider getting involved with great communities, like #CSK8 on twitter to grow your PLN and expand your horizons. Good luck, and DFTBA.

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