What's the framework for interdisciplinary courses?

STEAM & Computer Science Curriculum Development Journal 5.7.19

It has been a goal of mine to begin micro-journaling after important conversations and experiences so that I can best process the thoughts and decisions. Today was the first day of some in depth discussions around the development of a required 6th grade STEAM/Computer Science course in a Middle School environment.

At the beginning of this process, I wanted to pause and explore some of the potential frameworks which can support interdisciplinary instruction and computer science concepts at the 6th grade level. I am taking into account at the same time some of the key drivers of competency based instruction of computer science concepts and the combination of the engineering design process being taught with the Massachusetts Digital Learning and Computer Science standards.

Today’s discussions brought out the topic of the value of “deconstruction” in teaching and the value of students reverse engineering their learning. This concept allows students reveal understanding of a concept by breaking a concept down to essential skills from the idea of a “whole”. I anticipate continued discussions and decision making as we work on the outline and sequence of this course and look forward to how it will challenge my opinions and approach to this hot topic embedded with curriculum design and instructional models.

As much as traditional course design outcomes and sequence can target standards and learning objectives I am also from the camp that Project Based Learning, Design Thinking and a new more refined approach to teaching a competency of skills in critical areas needs to be part of the conceptual framework. What we have to gain by encouraging design thinking, project based learning and assessments which value authentic programming competency is the ability to adjust and modify projects to meet the continual changes in modern technology that will shift instruction to meet students at different points of learning.