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Using Technology to Teach Computing

We all know that teaching computing involves instructional activities on the countless and varied aspects of technology. But how do you use technology to teach computing?

I know teachers who record all of their programming technique demonstrations so that students can revisit them as many times as they want. There are teachers who would be lost without the ability to communicate online with students and parents about assignments and class activities through any number of tools. Wikis and forums add depth and inclusion to classroom discussions when all students feel free to participate. The opportunities for teaching computing, or any course for that matter, with technology are endless.

We'd like to hear about and share with CSTA members your experiences in teaching computing with an effective technology tool or strategy. Please share your success stories here.

Pat Phillips
Editor, CSTA Voice


I use a presentation tool called Ubiquitous Presenter. You can find it at http://up.ucsd.edu

The tool allows me to do my presentation on a tablet (although you could use a regular computer and just not have the writing ability) but the students watch the presentation not only on the projected screen, but also on their own individual monitors through a web browser. The software allows for student input, which I can then view myself or put up on the large screen to share with the class. It also stores all the lecture notes and slides so that students can log back in later.

I also know a number of people who use sorting algorithm visualizers - anyone have a favorite?

I have been using Moodle this year for all of my classes. Moodle is a free open source course management system.
Students can now download all the powerpoint slide decks that I use in class to review and any handouts that I give them as well.
The calendar feature is great because it is online and I can put important dates on it. Students can modify the calendar for their own events that are happening during the week and months ahead.
I haven't used the online forum or wicki modules that comes with moodle but it is nice to know that I can.
All in all, moodle is worth checking out to use as a teacher tool.

I teach computer science at the high school level. I structured my courses so students learn technology skills as well as computer programming skills. My introductory class has Blog assignments. I post items, such as "What is an Algorithm." and have them discuss responses with one another, and also post some algorithms they find on the internet. (With sources, of course.) I give the students a rubric for which I evaluate their responses. This has fostered a real online community for my course.

The introductory course is taught using robotics. I use Parallax robots. (http://www.parallax.com) I use the Boe-Bot, but have purchased some extra parts. I am creating a curriculum that allows the students to go through the course, and have a deep understand of what computer science is, as well as a foundation in programming.

I have found students love hands on computer science. When they can physically see their results, it adds an entire new dimension to the course.

-Josh Block

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