Applications of the CS First Platform for didactic activities
How does the CS First Platform help to develop computational thinking and problem-solving abilities? What contribution can it make to make the more abstract content of scientific subjects easier to understand?
Onelia Onorati asked Rossana Di Giorgi, a Mathematics and Science Professor at the Istituto comprensivo Giovanni XXIII in Paceco, in the Province of Trapani, about this. Prof. Di Giorgi has been using the CS First Platform and is collaborating on promoting it to school. “I decided to promote this platform to professors in my school and others in the province. It was with great enthusiasm in the initial teacher training phase but has been slower in terms of implementation and the active involvement of students, especially due to the time factor and the need to use computer labs which are often limited in terms of resources.
How have the students reacted? Do you think that it will be possible to improve the active involvement of students now?
We finally experimented with the platform in class last year. I was very satisfied and this year I have introduced it to all three of my classes (Years 1-3). The strong point of the platform is that a video tutorial allows students to understand how to use it gradually and sequentially. The teacher must not even be present, and students can practice using it at home, independently. From this point of view, each student’s work is shared on the platform and progress is visible, as well as all issues encountered. This is an excellent result and overcomes the issue of limited resources.
In terms of your didactic profile, what is its most interesting use for students?
Above all, I’m interested in teaching the use of the platform and Scratch, so that students can produce animations. The next step, in my opinion, is to apply the technology to sciences. One idea could be to develop a storytelling project on the lives and discoveries of great scientists or talk about science as scientists did in their original contexts. For Mathematics, it might be interesting to programme a videogame for mathematical tests on multiples.
When were you most involved as teachers?
I loved the webinars. In particular, I remember the one on “How old is the solar system?” I immediately understood that I could use this content in my classes to exploit the curiosity of my students on concepts that are very abstract and difficult to learn. I would like to see which questions or ideas they might come up with!
How can this technology improve student inclusion?
In general, coding has the ability to immediately overcome mental obstacles that the students create and that then block them. Showing them how to do things practically improves their learning. And CS First develops and reinforces their problem-solving abilities.