A Teacher Workshop for Introducing Computational Thinking in Rural and Vulnerable Environments
Jocelyn Simmonds. PhD in Computer Science por la University of Toronto (Canadá, 2011), Ingeniero Civil en Computación por la Universidad de Chile (Chile, 2005) y MSc in Computer Science por la Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgica, 2003). Es profesora asistente del Departamento de Ciencia de la Computación de la Universidad de Chile desde 2014, donde investiga varios problemas dentro de la área de ingeniería de software, como la extracción de modelos de procesos y el desarrollo de líneas de productos. También le interesa el temas de genero, siendo co-fundadora de LAtINiTY, el primero encuentro latinoamericano para mujeres en tecnología.
Resumen: In Latin America, computational thinking workshops are mostly developed in urban areas, charging participation fees. And although teachers are increasingly being expected to include technology in their classrooms, computational thinking and programming are not mandatory topics in teacher training programs. This hinders the development of digital skills among Latino students, and we expect that the digital gap between urban and rural populations will expand over time, especially in socio-economically vulnerable populations. Believing that teachers can be agents of change, we designed a 12 hour workshop to train the K-8 teaching staff in a rural and vulnerable school. The goal of this experience was to help these teachers develop basic computational thinking skills and devise new ways to incorporate what they learned in their classrooms. In this paper, we report our experience facilitating this workshop, and analyze the teacher perceptions before and after the intervention. Teacher attitudes changed drastically during the execution of the workshop, and they were able to come up with creative ways of incorporating computational thinking activities into their subjects. The reported experience can be used as input to develop public policies with respect to how computational thinking should be introduced in rural and vulnerable environments.