Walking through our library commons one day, I chanced upon students working together, coding and collaborating, designing new programs and applications as part of their AP Computer Science Principles course. In a video created at Concordia and posted online through the UTeach program at the University of Texas, our students share what this learning experience has meant to them.
Fostering growth and connection
The learning seen in our Advance Placement Computer Science Principles course is an example of the pioneering spirit and ethos of “fostering growth and connection through learning” found at Concordia. It is the norm in many schools for new course proposals to languish as the question of how we can teach a subject well stalls progress. Teachers can be mired in administrative red tape or paralyzed by not knowing where to begin. Certainly course offerings should be carefully considered and a strong “first run” of the course be made possible through appropriate professional learning and course development. Yet, imagine if that question of “How do we teach this well so that our students learn?” was instead met with, “Let’s figure it out!”
At Concordia, we strive to respond with, “Let’s figure it out!” Our passionate teachers and commitment of resources make it possible to be responsive to many of our learners’ interests and needs, while adapting to the changing landscape of learning opportunities in our dynamic world. Teachers can design learning that elevates the growth of our already engaged and collaborative student body, and students can create friendships as they learn, growing holistically, one day at a time.
This video was shared with Alicia, the head of the UTeach Computer Science program at University of Texas-Austin, the university partner that was a resource in the design of this course. After watching the video, she shared with us that the video made by the students was amazing and made her tear up.
Here are a few quotes from the video as a summary to give you a glimpse of the APCSP experience through the words of our students and university partners:
"We have the ability to basically code anything."
"We can use this knowledge to build new things in our everyday lives that can help us."
"Creating a work-place environment, a café-type of environment where you’re free, is the same as representing your freedom in the course, your freedom to explore."
The AP Computer Science Principles class in Concordia is really "A Code to Foster Exploration and Collaboration".