Understanding the world through computational thinking: My journey with CSPathshala

From Introduction to implementation @MEMS, The Akanksha Foundation, Pune.

Varsha Pangarkar, The Akanksha Foundation, Pune

The rate at which technology has affected human’s life is faster than any other thing ever done. Everyday new programs are bring written and applications are being created to solve even the basic problems. In the technology-driven world, teachers have a very crucial role to play in preparing students for future. With the speed the world is changing, new types of problems occurring and technology playing a crucial role in solving those problems, our students cannot just be the consumer of technology. They need to know how technology works, the science behind it. We needed a way to build these computational thinking skills in our students and CSpathshala has given us those wonderful tools to build it. CSpathshala curriculum helps in developing algorithmic and programming abilities in students to enable them to design, create and evaluate innovative digital solutions. Talking about my journey from Introduction to Implementation of CSpathshala Curriculum.

I came to know about CSP in 2018 when I was working with TSSS, Chinchwad. Ms.Ritu Mendiratta, Principal of school had introduced me about this new program which was designed to build computational thinking skill among students. This was turning point for me. I learnt new ways of teaching
through fun activities, slide shows and worksheets. My experience was amazing that I couldn’t stop myself to write about it and share with others. I wrote abstract for CSP and also was speaker in CTis2019 conference. I loved the way CSP provides well organised content in different languages and give support to teachers. I felt strongly that this is the skill which can help us to prepare our kids for 21st century and so I decided to take this ahead.

In the beginning of academic year 2019, I have joined MEMS, The  Akanksha Foundation school (an NGO which provides quality education through its 21 schools to children of low-income communities in Mumbai and Pune since last 29 years. The schools are run in partnership with Government schools(local municipalities). The objective of this public private partnership is to provide excellent education to students belong to low income communities and be a model of change for government school.)

I approached to our school leadership members and got permission to pilot CSpathshala activities as part of syllabus from Mr. Sooryanarayanan Hariharan. I recommended this idea to our Instructional technology Specialist Ms.Preevi Mahalwar so that other Akanksha Schools can also leverage this knowledge. One introductory session was planned for all Akanksha computer teachers and was conducted by Ms.Sonia Garcha. At MEMS, I observed that students don’t have much exposure to technology and they don’t have relevant resources at home also. Though they have used multimedia in their parent’s cell phones, but never thought that they can create things also using technology.

When we implemented CSP curriculum, the response was amazing. We observed positive changes in student’s mindfulness, self-awareness, critical thinking, perception, communication and self-reflections. As students were able to see technology from the perspective of creator than consumer, improvement was observed in their Digital literacy skills as well. They felt much empowered of being able to experiment and create technology than just consuming it.

The beauty of CSpathshala curriculum is that it is easily accessible to all. It is easy for teachers to conduct and it also provide opportunities for students not only to learn, but also to CREATE. CSpathshala activities helps students to think creatively, critically, collaboratively and are engaging as well. The content slides are simple yet interactive and to the point. These activities encouraged
even shy students to participate in classroom discussions. 30 students from our school had participated in Bebra’s challenge as well. Here are the glimpse.

Thank you Team CSpathshala…
Varsha Pangarkar
Email: varsha.pangarkar AT akanksha.org

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