Vipul Shah, Sonia Garcha
The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) India started an education initiative, CSpathshala (www.cspathshala.org) in 2016, to teach computing as a science in all schools. The key objectives are to popularise Computational Thinking (CT) and influence education policy to enable its introduction into the curricula. CSpathshala advocacy efforts paid off and the National Education Policy 2020 recommends that computational thinking be taught from foundational stages. CT curriculum has been piloted by 4,00,000+ students in 1500 schools across 11 states in 4 languages and Tamil Nadu SCERT has adopted the unplugged computational thinking curriculum as part of its mathematics curriculum for 30,000 schools from 2018.
Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and the two successive lockdowns in 2020 and 2021 created multiple challenges for schools and students were unable to attend school in person for the second year in a row. In light of the pandemic, CSpathshala pivoted its programs and trained nearly 1500 teachers through 21 awareness workshops and training programs. Bebras India Challenge 2021 was conducted from 15th November to 7th December 2021 for age groups 8-18. It was offered in English, Gujarati, Marathi, Kannada, Odia, Tamil and Telugu and saw encouraging participation of 22,600 students from 260+ schools across 16 states in India. From the CTiS2020 submission 4 abstracts were submitted for the CTE-STEM2021 conference and all 4 were selected for presentation. Pooja Palaparthi from APSWREIS was selected for CTE-STEM 2021 Best Paper Award. Third Online conference on Computational Thinking in Schools (CTiS2021) was hosted by School of Scholars (SOS) Nagpur from 29th September to 2nd October 2021 with participation of 1,100+ teachers, educators and organization across 15 countries, across 19 states in India.
Partnerships forged with Pratham, DHE Goa, TCSIon and Google India. In 2022-2023, CSpathshala will continue to focus its efforts with the government to mainstream CT, empower teachers and increase its reach in rural areas. In this report we highlight the details of the various activities carried out.
Awareness Workshops and Training Programs
So far, nearly 15,000+ teachers from 5000+ institutes have been trained through 135+ webinars, awareness workshops and training programs and in 2021-22, CSpathshala through 21 online programs trained nearly 1500 teachers.
Online Awareness Workshops and Teachers Training Programs organised for:
- Online Teachers training on Computational Thinking were for Computer and Math teachers from Meghe Group of Schools, Deccan Education Society, DLRC Pune, resources from DHE Goa and across other schools [11 training programs, 297 schools, 670 teachers]
- In partnership with Google India [10 training programs, 440+ schools, 800+ teachers]
- 380 Math and Science teachers from APREI Society and APSW schools
- 250 teachers from Telangana government schools
- 47 Math teachers from Bihar government schools
- 150 Math and Science teachers from Pondicherry government schools
- CTiS2021 from from 29th September to 2nd October 2021 saw participation of 1,100+ teachers, educators and organistions
Andhra Pradesh Residential Schools
Online Teachers training has been conducted for the Math and Science teachers from 61 Andhra Pradesh Residential schools since October 2021.
Highlights of implementation:
- Feedback from teachers was that they were happy to learn something new which was better than regular curriculum. Teachers have taken up innovative ways of CT implementation and students are enjoying the CT activities.
- To celebrate Ramanujam’s birthday, Math day APRS conducted a state level Sudoku competition across 61 School level selections were followed up by state level stages for solving Sudoku and 9 finalists were selected. All the 9 finalists solved the 9×9 Sudokus in less than 15 minutes and were given a cash award of Rs. 500 each.
- Nearly 1600 students from 47 APSRE schools participated in 2021 Bebras India challenge and 8 students secured National Rank #1
Zilla Parishad Schools, Khed, Maharashtra
CSpathshala has been carrying out a pilot with 50 Zilla Parishad schools in Khed, Maharashtra
Highlights of the implementation:
- Online classes were conducted by the teachers but as a majority of students have limited or no access to digital technology the Education department designed self study student workbooks. To help students develop a systematic approach to problem solving CT activities were included as part of these self study books which were used by students across the 400 Zilla Parishad schools in Khed taluka.
- Teachers took the lead in conducting online sessions for students from various schools to introduce them to the Bebras tasks and also mentored the teachers in the registration process
- Participation of 450+ students from 11 schools in 2021 Bebras India challenge and 5 students secured National Rank #1
We now have a strong base of schools with very good representation from both urban and rural parts of the country. We will continue to work closely with these schools to study the impact of the program.
Kaushalya Saptak, skill development program, DHE Goa
The objective of this program conducted in partnership with DHE Goa was to build foundational skills in Computational Thinking of students to equip them with problem solving, algorithmic thinking and logical reasoning skills. CSpathshala team trained the faculty for CT sessions for students as part of Kaushalya Saptak, skill development program, DHE Goa. The week-long program was conducted in person across 5 centres and included unplugged activities like Sudoku, Guess my birthdate, Parity bit and patterns in words, numbers and shapes and Bebras tasks which are short problems.
Bebras India Computational Thinking Challenge 2021
Bebras India Computational Thinking Challenge is organized by CSpathshala in partnership with TCS since 2018 for age groups 8-18, classes 3-12, free of cost to excite students about computing. Owing to the pandemic, Bebras India Challenge 2021 was conducted only online from 15th November to 7th December 2021 for age groups 8-18. It was offered in English, Gujarati, Marathi, Kannada, Odia, Tamil and Telugu and saw encouraging participation of 22,600 students from 260+ schools across 16 states in India. Owing to the pandemic the students in a majority of the states in India were not physically back in school and hence the challenge was extended by a week. There was a drop in the participation as only the students having access to digital technology could take the challenge. In the hybrid mode it was also difficult for teachers to motivate students to participate in the challenge.
Computational Thinking in Schools (CTiS) Conference
CTiS(Computational Thinking in Schools) is organised by CSpathshala to provide a platform for school teachers to share innovative and interesting examples and showcase best practices. Third Online conference on Computational Thinking in Schools (CTiS2021) was hosted by School of Scholars (SOS) Nagpur from 29th September to 2nd October 2021 with participation of 1,100+ teachers, educators and organistion across 15 countries, across 19 states in India.
CTiS2021 featured keynote speakers Manish Jain, IIT Gandhinagar, and Head, Center for Creative Learning, Patricia Ordóñez, University of Puerto Rico Río Piedras, Hal Abelson, MIT, USA and Wolfgang Slany, TU Gratz, Austria. Sessions also included 16 teacher presentations and a workshop on inclusive pedagogy of CT curriculum for children with visual impairment by Supriya Dey, Vision Empower and Manohar Swaminathan, Microsoft Research, Bengaluru.
CTiS2020 to CTE-STEM2021
CTE-STEM is organized by the Asia-Pacific Society for Computers in Education (APSCE) and the 2021 edition was hosted by the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University (NIE/NTU) from 2nd to 4th June 2021. Four abstracts submitted to CTiS2020 were selected, which could be mentored and submitted to CTE-STEM2021.
CTE-STEM 2021 International Teachers Forum received a total of 29 papers by 59 authors from 6 countries/regions and all the 4 abstracts we submitted were selected for presentation and Pooja Palaparthi, was selected for CTE-STEM 2021 Best Paper Award.