CS Tips and Tricks - Teaching Computer Science at Home
As you probably have noticed, there are a ton of online resources to teach Computer Science at home. But the question is: how do you get your youth to actually learn and engage with the material? The answer is to motivate and inspire them through face-to-face enthusiasm and virtual or distance-learning is better than nothing!
Two effective ways to motivate and inspire youth are to:
1) Find things that you think are fun and exciting.
2) Ask your youth what their experiences are with this topic.
When you’re enjoying the exploration of a system, whether it’s a Scratch game or a TinkerCad design, you’re going to share that powerful feeling with the people you interact with. You can infect those around you with your enthusiasm and suddenly your youth will want a turn to play with what you’re doing! Once you’ve got them hooked by your excitement, ask your youth what their experiences are with this program. They may not have any and could become more interested in exploring a new system, or they might have already dabbled in this world and want to teach you what they already know. Either way, you’ve motivated them to learn.
Here’s a short list of my personal favorite Computer Science teaching resources:
- CS First https://csfirst.withgoogle.com/s/en/home -- great ideas for using the block-based coding via Scratch https://scratch.mit.edu/!
- TinkerCad https://www.tinkercad.com --software that allows you to make designs for Minecraft, Lego, 3D printing, Arduino and block-based coding!
- Codecademy https://www.codecademy.com/ -- interactive tutorials with over a dozen popular text-based programming languages, including Python, Java, and C++.
- Arduino https://www.arduino.cc/en/Main/Software -- application to enable text-based coding for small circuits.
All of these have free tutorials that you can play with. Remember: it is most important that you find something that excites you and your youth! Having fun will motivate, inspire, and engage!
Natalie Becerra+Stasiewicz (she/her/hers)
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign