More than 140 delegates, which included teachers, Principals and organisations working in the field of education from 20 cities and 7 states of the country attended CTiS2019 the first conference on Computational Thinking in schools which took place on 20th April 2019 in Pune.
The conference was organized by CSpathshala (www.cspathshala.org), an ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) India initiative (india.acm.org) to provide a platform for educators to share their experiences, student learnings/stories, outcomes and interesting new experiments. The conference sponsors included Cambridge University Press, Google and Sakal Social Foundation.
CSpathshala is a not for profit, initiative to bring a modern computing curriculum, emphasising on problem solving and computational thinking skills, to Indian schools. Vipul Shah, Head, CSpathshala initiative in his opening remarks said, “Computing is touching our lives in more ways than before and how do we prepare our students for this new world.
A modest beginning with 15 pilot schools to 3 Lakh students in 750 schools across 11 states in three years, CSpathshala is increasingly becoming an enabler fostering a community of teachers volunteers and partners and engaging students through various programs.”
Prof. R Ramanujam from the Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai, the keynote speaker said, “There is a need to move away from Silent classrooms and encourage students to graduate from find the answer to How do you know this? All this cannot happen without children talking, discussing, arguing.There is a need to shift from content to process A range of processes are needed in the classroom which include visualization, estimation and approximation, abstraction and generalization, representation, use of patterns, use of heuristics, making connections, formal communication and argumentation.”
CTiS2019 featured presentations by teachers from across the country on how schools are integrating CT activities with physical computing and mathematics. Teachers showcased how Sudoku could be taught with fruits instead of numbers, how paths in graphs can be used to find shorter routes to visit Manache ganpati in Pune, how following instructions can be taught by playing a Robot game, how algorithms can be used to minimize search space when guessing birth-dates, and how floor space can be effectively used to engage and train students on recognizing patterns. Divy Thakker from Google India also spoke on CS First an initiative to teach programming to students. The event demonstrated that computing goes beyond the simple ability to use computers, and can be taught and discussed in schools without the use of computers.
A. Surendra, state coordinator, Andhra Pradesh Department of Social Welfare, shared that CTiS provided an opportunity to teachers to share and learn about the CT implementation from different schools from states across the country. Santosh Hande, Zilla Parishad School, Khed shared that, “CTiS provided a platform for the Zilla Parishad teachers to share their experiences in implementing CT activities with other schools.” Asmita Mulay, Maths Teacher from School Of Scholars, Amravati said “CSpathshala is the way to provide a innovation in studies with fantastic worksheets.”Pratiksha Majumdar, Meghe Group of Schools, Nagpur said that “CTiS is the only platform for school computer teachers to interact with other computer teachers.”
In her closing remarks, Sonia Garcha shared that Sharing is Learning and CSpathshala has been working towards creating a Community of Practice that provides a platform for educators to contribute, share experiences and resources as well as learn from each other and organising the CTiS2019 conference is part of this larger process!