Tech Tools For Algorithm Design

Algorithm design, the fourth and final element of computational thinking, may seem like rocket science to educators who have only a vague idea of what an algorithm is, let alone design it! Or teach it!

But fear not! You don't have to be a rocket scientist to understand and design algorithms - and then teach algorithm design to your students! Because computational thinking is much less computational (rocket and computer scientists, please don't get me wrong!) and much more thinking! And when I say thinking, I mean using our brain - not only the left, but also the right side, to solve problems. Because we need logic AND creativity to come up with innovative solutions.

In fact, we already ARE teaching computational thinking to our students. Their computational thinking skills are being developed whenever they work out a rule, determine a principle underlying a process, and create a tutorial or a step by step guide to solving problems. Or when they are learning programming and coding, of course.

There are a lot of tech tools for the above-mentioned activities. For teaching coding there are really many tools that are used in the classrooms all over the world. Check out this excellent guide by Common sense education: Get started with coding in the classroom. This hyperdoc by Mark Herring is a also a good way to Get Your Students Coding - From Basics To Advanced. Encourage students to design their own learning games: 12 Great Tools For Creating educational Games.

There is myriad of tools for creating tutorials and instructional and explainer videos. Or why not start with creating animated explainer GIFs. Here's a step by step guide that will teach you and your students how to make an explainer GIF by Common Craft: How To Make Explainer GIFs.

Check out this list of  Interactive video tools (my example: How to create scavenger hunts, created with My Simple Show). Here's a list of  screencast tools (my example: How to use Tweetdeck, created with Screencast-o-matic). I highly recommend checking out Shelly Terrell's post: 14 Tools and Resources To Get Students Create Instructional Videos.

Or why not ask your students to do a webquest - an inquiry-based learning activity. Create your own or use a webquest created by teachers of different subjects, in different languages. Check out these two easy and user-friendly websites:  WebQuest and Zunal. Here's my webquest: Cultural Profiles. Ask students to create their own webquests.

I just stumbled upon Novel Engineering - an innovative approach to integrate engineering and literacy in elementary and middle school. Students read a book, identify problems that characters face, brainstorm possible solutions and design a prototype to help the characters solve a problem.


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