How can educators utilize computer programming to help students achieve curricular goals? They can put the engaging power of the screen to use! During the July 31 – August 4, 2017 institute, middle and high school educators learned to program by connecting visual blocks, avoiding the need to memorize complex textual commands. Using StarLogo Nova’s block programming platform, they created computational models or simulations.
Educators experienced the design process as by experimenting with and debugging their own projects. They tried on the roles of navigator and driver in a paired programming team and engaged in the practice of computational thinking by breaking a problem down and developing steps to solve it. For instance, they found patterns and generalized them into rules. In this institute, educators gained an understanding of how computer simulations or models are used to research and understand real-world phenomena by scientists and programmers and how their students can use simulations and models in the classroom.