This is the final piece of our 4 part series covering each stage of implementing computer science in elementary school, based on thousands of conversations with educators.
Full implementation- it’s go time! You’re ready to implement computer science in elementary schools when you’ve found a program that has proven benefits and met your goals. Testing the program out in the form of a pilot with a small sample group helps you analyze outcomes to better understand your long term goals. At this point you are ready to roll the program out on a school or district level and fully offer computer science to your students. HOORAY!
What Does Full Implementation Mean?
- What is full implementation? Full implementation is the adoption of a new program or curriculum at a school-wide or district-wide level. This is what you’ve been building up to!
- Who is involved? Administration, teachers (tech and general education), parents, and at times the Superintendent. This is an all-hands on deck situation; shiny and new! Everyone has a different role with varying degrees of involvement when full implementation is happening post-pilot. Expect the technology teacher, general classroom teachers, and administration to be on the “front lines.”
- Logistics: You should already know how and where computer science fits into the daily schedule (for each class, grade, and the school) from testing the waters during the pilot stage. The progression of the program is clear. You have an actionable plan to meet goals and move students through the program successfully. Pilots are often free or less costly, but moving to full implementation almost always includes purchasing. Get our purchasing tips and helpful funding ideas and don’t forget to share pilot data with decision makers!
- Goals, learning objectives, and data: Results (qualitative and quantitative data) from the pilot stage have been analyzed and goals have been clearly defined for a full rollout of the program. Objectives are clear and the entire team is prepared to collect data during the first few years of implementation. It’s important to note that full implementation takes time to evolve beyond year 1-set goals for years 1-5 and each year adjust the structure accordingly
- Staff Involvement: Every school or district is different! However, across the board we see professional development as a key ingredient to success. Teachers need to be prepared and have access to any and all resources that will ease the transition. It can make or break the implementation process!
4 Tips for Fully Implementing Computer Science
1. Prepare the Team!
Implementing a new program of any kind requires getting everyone on the same page and feeling confident.
- Make sure teachers have the knowledge they need through proper staff training, professional development (ongoing!) and resources to implement computer science.
- Help general classroom teachers understand the program if computer science is going to be specific to technology class. Get them involved by inviting them to your classroom
- Allow collaborative planning time for staff . This will help students have consistency across classes and classroom teachers to integrate computer science into math and ELA. Need collaborative planning ideas? Get them here!
2. Show, Don’t Tell
Don’t talk about it, show it! The pilot is going to be a key factor in showing the value of implementing computer science in classrooms and setting the tone for those getting started. You can talk about something great until you’re blue in the face (or your audience is falling asleep). The magic comes when people see and interpret the value on their own.
- Have photos, data, and student work examples available for others to see (in the classroom, hallways, website). Read about one of our star teachers, Brian Adams, and how he shared the value of computer science with his students’ families!
- Present to other teachers and parents at meetings or family nights. Older students can show their work, demonstrate how to use the program, and display what they’ve learned!
- Create opportunities for new computer science teachers to watch others; specifically teachers who gained experience during the pilot stage.
3. Goals, Goals, Goals
Use the pilot experience to show the importance of goal-setting and help you set long-term goals. Model for other teachers how to set computer science goals and think beyond just one year.
- What do you want students to be able to do?
- How do you want to integrate computer science across content areas?
- How do you want to see students apply what they’re learning?
- What academic results are you looking for?
Thinking beyond one year will allow you to see big-picture goals and think about the ultimate, end goal you have for all students. The second half of setting a goal is keeping up with it! Successful implementation means monitoring your goals. Check in with teachers and students regularly and iterate if necessary.
4. Include Parents!
According to 90% of parents in the U.S., computer science education is something they want their kids to have as part of their schooling. More often than not, families want to be included and help in some way.
Not sure how to get parents involved? Here are some favorite ways our Kodable teachers have shared with us:
- Communicate: Be transparent and equip parents with the knowledge needed to be a part of it! Send home letters from both teacher and student, share about your school implementing computer science on your school or class website, and give parents the opportunity to see it in action.
- Homework: Send home information about the program and how students can practice at home. Homework can be fun!
- Family coding night: Students act as teachers and show parents how to code! This can be exciting for everyone and really empowers students and gives them ownership.
- Family conferences: Students lead the conference and talk about their progress, challenges, and successes. Teachers act as facilitators and students lead the conference.
Have you gone from piloting a computer science program to fully implementing in your school or district? We want to hear about it in the comments below!
Full Implementation: Step 4 to Implementing Computer Science in Elementary by Brie Gray