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The Experiences in Applied Computational Thinking (EXACT) program is an online certificate program that provides an introduction to computational thinking and coding for educators who have no prior experience with coding or computing in K-12 classrooms. Similar to Penn GSE’s Virtual Online Teaching (VOLT) program, EXACT is a part-time, fully online certificate program. It takes place over two semesters, and is designed for practitioners and educators who would like to incorporate computational thinking in their pedagogy.
EXACT develops teacher expertise in computational concepts (coding concepts such as loops, sequences, data), computational practices (problem solving practices that occur in coding such as debugging, reusing, remixing) and computational perspectives (understanding of themselves and their relation to a digital world around them). The program also introduces cutting-edge applications of computers in real-world contexts, such as natural language processing, computer vision, and robotics.
The program modules follow the sequence below.
Modules 1 and 2
Participants begin the course by understanding the need for computational thinking in the 21st century classroom, and explore ways in which it can be made explicit in their teaching spaces. Through an introductory coding platform, participants build introductory level computer science skills and explore the basics of coding languages. This develops the thinking skills and language around coding, such as variables, loops, and conditional statements.
Modules 3 and 4
In these modules, participants will be introduced to programming in Python, and will learn to program the Raspberry Pi. They will need to solve computational thinking problems using computer hardware, peripherals, and machine learning in a guided learning experience.
Building on previous modules, participants use applications such as natural language processing or computer vision to solve a relevant problem. It culminates with an immersive project designed to apply computational thinking processes in a real-world scenario.
The final project of the program requires teachers to work collaboratively to create a lesson plan or an extended curriculum that incorporates computational thinking in their subject areas.