Asha Kanini

Computer Science Curriculum

Asha Chennai has been teaching computer science to students in primary and middle schools in Tamil Nadu for the last 5+ years. There was no curriculum available for Computer Science in Tamil Nadu state board. We considered the CBSE curriculum and felt it was very outdated and proceeded in an unengaging manner. Computer Science is not something you learn with a pen and paper. Children need to actually do thing on a computer to learn.

We decided to develop a curriculum on our own. The curriculum should be implementable even in schools with very limited infrastructure. We still serve several schools where the only computer is the laptop that our teacher carries with her. But we also wanted the emphasis of the curriculum to be in things that the students actually do with the computer. We also need to be cognisant of the fact that computer science is not part of their curriculum and therefore we will not be able to get more that one to two hours with each class of children per week. Where ever we implement this curriculum we devote the entire third term (Jan to April) to project work. Classes 4 and 5 develop a presentation while classes 6 to 8 develop a programming project with assistance from the teacher.


There were two important things to cover in the curriculum.


Digital Literacy

The children need to understand the world of computers and Internet. Then need to feel comfortable navigating through that world. The test of digital literacy is not in what you know but in how comfortable you feel about doing something that you currently do not know. If you suddenly get a drone which interfaces with your laptop or smartphone, how comfortable are you in visiting the website of the drone and configuring it to work and also understand how the whole thing works. This is the goal of digital literacy.

We introduce basic digital literacy in class 1 itself with children learning to become comfortable with mouse and keyboard. At class 3 they develop a sense of the computer with its storage, persistence of information. In class 4 and 5, we teach them OpenOffice. In the process they also being to understand the windowing environment and the operating system that lies underneath with multi-tasking, event handling etc. In class 6 to 8, while we continue to build up on these, we also introduce the students to the Internet – browsing, how to search for information, email, chatting, social media etc.

Programming

Importance of digital literacy in this day and age is very well understood. Programming is also equally important. Programming exposes the children to newer areas of education like computational thinking, design thinking etc. Studies has found that these have significant impact on the education of children even in other skills like language and Maths.

Till last year we were introducing programming only in class 6. However, we have now brought it down to third standard. We introduce programming through solving simple puzzles. We found a wonderful curriculum in code.org and have used it to the extent possible without our limitations.

In the middle school we move them to develop more substantial projects using Scratch. During this time, they get introduced to all the standard programming concepts like variables, conditional statements, looping, asynchronous messaging, handling user input, etc.

Third party contents

What we do offer

Here are the tools that are required to implement this curriculum at your school. We have provided the curriculum here as well as a list of lessons to implement the curriculum. Finally, we have also provided a list of assessments for classes 4/5 and classes 6/7/8. Since the number of computers are limited, we expect the assessment to also be done in groups.


Lesson Plan

WHAT WE'VE DONE IN LESSON PLAN

Assessments

Our Assessments Model