One of the nice things about teaching computer technology is that you tend to get a lot of fanboys in the class. They’re already giddy about the subject and keen to explore it (something sadly missing from many English students). I’m hoping to harness that experience and energy this semester in senior computer engineering.
|Ontario Comp-Tech, everything from programming to robotics!
Last summer I took my final, senior computer technology AQ, and we did a fair bit of focusing on curriculum expectations. Those expectations are so broad that finding a teacher who is an expert in all of them would be pretty much impossible. Fortunately for me I love being taught by my students (I’m as giddy and curious about comp-tech as they are).
Rather than present yet another linear, teacher-centric semester plan, we’re going to have a con-fab and talk about how to address the curriculum expectations. They are trapped in the prehistoric tree sap of Ontario Ministry of Education documents which, at best, make for dry, inaccessible reading for students. To make it accessible I summarized the key points in a prezi. When the semester starts tomorrow we’re going to self organize around what we need and how we’re going to reach the remarkably diverse goals of the computer technology curriculum.
Hopefully the prezi format will make the goals of the course more accessible and allow us to plan out an approach that gets to all the expectations while allowing students to self direct their learning – a vital skill in an engineer.
There are threads in the course that run through the many diverse fields found in the curriculum document. The design process is one of those keys to engineering that will serve us well while we plan out how to approach our learning.
The engineering design process is basically a forced feed-back loop that self corrects, leading to a solution. It would work on everything from essay design to project management – it also leads to successful engineering projects.
|If it works for NASA, it’ll work for us!
In our case we’re going to apply it to the curriculum of our courses. Based on the time we have, access to equipment and experience in the class, we’re going to create a customized, student driven curriculum plan that (I hope) will also encourage student buy in.
I want to make our lab into a maker space, so my focus is going to be on facilitating equipment in order to feed hands on engineering projects. As long as students are effectively exploring computer technology and expanding both their interests and the breadth of their knowledge, then I’m happy with the process. My role will be to amplify their learning rather than direct it, and I hope to start that process with a self directed semester plan that we generate together next week.
While I’m at it, I’ll also get some feedback on my expansion plans to computer technology. Who better to ask than my target audience?