Develop your digital skills within a CSS de Montréal virtual programming club

The meetings of the Programming Club of the Center de services scolaire de Montréal, which we have already told you about, will begin shortly. The three ICT educational advisers at the origin of the project present the state of progress.

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ATTENTION! The English translation is automated - Errors (sometimes hilarious!) can creep in! ;)

By Mario Renauld, Guillaume Bilodeau and Mariane Ducharme, ICT pedagogical advisers of the CSSDM 

Meetings of the Programming Club of the Center de services scolaire de Montréal (CSSDM), which we have already told you about, will begin shortly. Following a survey sent to teachers before the holiday break, about fifty expressed an interest in registering their class for this activity. This means that more than 1,000 students will participate over the next few weeks.

Thus, from January 28, students from preschool to the first year of secondary school will be invited, every Friday afternoon, to meet virtually to code in the Teams La Numérithèque team. The latter is intended to be a place for exchanges and collaboration between teachers, school management and pedagogical advisers for all matters relating to the use of technologies in education. The space is accessible at all times and the Club's meetings will therefore take place there. 

Extend Code MTL

Originally, the primary intention of the Programming Club was to join the former participants of the Code MTL project. It should be remembered that this offers teachers and their students the opportunity to learn about programming thanks to the support of educational advisers and the support of a team of facilitators from the company Edu GoPro.

Club meetings will take place in the same spirit of support as the Code MTL project. Pedagogical support, which can be reassuring for teachers who are new to digital integration, will be provided by three CSSDM ICT pedagogical advisers. For their part, the teachers will ensure that the activity runs smoothly in their class. In addition, they will follow up on the challenges achieved so that a collaborative project can be submitted to the last meeting of the Club. Thanks to numerous partners, each class that submits a project will be entered into the draw for participation prizes. 

From intermediate to advanced

The proposed challenges have been designed for an audience that already masters the basics of block programming, i.e. the intermediate level if we refer to the Continuum of digital competence. During meetings of the Programming Club, students will have the opportunity to progress to the advanced level, since they will be required to design and execute computer programs that meet the diverse needs of everyday life. 

Thus, by taking part in the Club's activities, students and teachers will develop several dimensions of digital competence. This diagram presents an overview of the elements highlighted throughout the challenges that will be proposed during the meetings. 

In order to ensure that this moment with the pupils and the teachers is a success, a calendar meetings has been developed. It includes the dates and times of the sessions, a short description of the challenges and the target audience. In addition, teachers are invited to survey their students in order to unearth programming enthusiasts who could ensure the smooth running of activities. And why not take the opportunity to invite an expert parent who would come to offer his support and who, by the same token, could share his experience in the field?  

Continue despite the context

The pandemic context, with all its collateral effects, leads us to be creative. Following the cancellation of day training, we wondered how to continue our support. In order to overcome this reality, we carried out a first experiment of virtual support in programming in two classes of 3e cycle.

Since everything went well, we are trying to replicate the experience on a larger scale. Other ideas are already emerging. Why not extend the concept with a reading or math club and thus reach as many participants as possible? The idea is launched.

To be continued…

To read the article already published on École branchée: A virtual programming club is born at the Montreal CSS

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