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Professional Development: Structured choice = happy [engaged, productive, inspired] student

Nov 3, 2016 1:14:45 PM

 How’s this for a thought?  The more choice one offers their students, the happier their students are. Infusing student choice into one’s classroom is something educators have long discussed, and one key element is also being sure to structure those choices so they also always work for YOU, the teacher, as well.


This is something I came to observe over my thirteen years of teaching in a computer science classroom, though (I must be fair) I do realize embedding structured choice in a computer science classroom may not be quite as challenging for teachers as structuring choice in a math classroom, for example.  Please do remember, that choice comes in “all sizes”, and “all flavors”, however, and could be as simple as offering choice in order of assignment completion, or method of turning in homework, or the option to type it or handwrite it, etc etc.  

In a computer science classroom, offering student choice on HOW they present something can be an invaluable as letting them choose WHAT they present.  This idea led me to consider the following recently--  why not let students choose the WHAT they study, ie the LANGUAGE they want to learn to code!

Note the quote in Ed Tech K-12 Magazine, about Personalized Learning:  “In a lot of ways, combining technology with curricula is like learning about fractions. Together, the two disciplines create a whole. But in schools nationwide, instructional and technology teams are working in tandem to ensure that this whole adds up to more than the sum of its parts, so that teachers in the classroom can effectively provide individualized learning to their students. For the technology side of the equation, it’s about “making sure the infrastructure can support any creative possibilities for instruction,” says Terance Proctor, director of technology at Arlington Public Schools (APS) in Virginia.”

Possible in a computer science classroom? I’d say, yes, if you have one easy to use platform that manages multiple languages within the same IDE, that is... It seems to me that this would be personalized learning at its best!


HTML Demo from Eliza Griscom on Vimeo.



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Eliza Griscom

Written by Eliza Griscom

Eliza Griscom is Senior Education Manager and team lead of our support for teachers based in North America. Eliza brings many years of computer science education to Codio. She has been a computer science teacher at the middle school and high school level. She has also been a course developer and instructional designer at the HiEd level. She is a National Coalition for Women In Technology “Aspirations in Computing” Educator Award winner.