Ontario is a big province.
From the Ministry of Education, teachers are provided curriculum documents that outline the expectations that are the foundation for the content of the course or grade. There may be district or school writing teams to boil that down and make it close to practical and workable. But, ultimately, what happens in the classroom is based on the professional judgement of the teacher.
In the area of Computer Studies, it can be an extra challenge as programming languages, equipment, relationships with local college/university, teacher background and experience, etc. means that there can be a wide variety of implementations all addressing the same things.
I know that, in my Computer Studies teachable course, students wanted to know “the answer”! I could sense a level of frustration when I couldn’t give it to them and think fondly of the practice lessons where one week we’d be looking at Scratch, the next week Java, the next week C#, etc.
Consequently, many Computer Studies teachers are constantly searching and bookmarking great resources for their use. One that needs to definitely be added to the list comes from the Toronto District School Board. It’s simply called CS eResource.
The concepts and glossary are well presented and then you dig into any of the five courses offered in the Computer Studies curriculum document.
Within each subject area, topics are broken down nicely into reading / researchable chunks. As an example, here is the 3U section on repetition.
Each of the clicks takes you to roughly a single screen of resource. What’s nice is that the examples are shown using pseudocode, video, or graphic. The presentation honours the fact that there will be various languages used in the course and so the language syntax stays out of the way. There are language specific examples but you have to intentionally go looking for them. They’re located at the bottom of the page along with links to additional resources, check your understanding, etc.
Computer Science teachers will spend considerable time working their way through this resources and both new and experienced teachers will find new ways to enhance their lessons. There is the mandatory warning that the site is under continual review and that’s a good thing!
Beyond the excellence of this resource, I think that it should be held as a model to all school districts in the province. Every teacher is using the same curriculum documents; why aren’t all districts developing and sharing resources like this openly and publicly on the web. This was developed as a Google Site – anyone can create their own site and start developing immediately. It’s only when we’re all rowing the same direction that wonderful things can happen and we build on the collective experiences of each other. Kudos to the team behind this resource.