In an effort to address the Digital Learning Gap, BSD Education has designed a comprehensive technology education product that can be used by teachers of any skill level or background.
Our approach to addressing the Digital Learning Gap is to provide digital skills curriculum that uses professional tools, is scaffolded for ease of learning, is rooted in personally relevant topics, allows for personalization and customization, and is supported through professional development and ongoing support.
To help us address the Digital Learning Gap, we are driven by 4 main theories of action, presented below.
At BSD Education, we design our projects, lessons, and technology solutions from a strong pedagogical foundation, believing that:
a) teachers need high quality support for digital learning,
b) learning by doing is the most practical approach in education, and
c) a mixture of scaffolded learning and open-ended projects provide students with the support they need to be successful.
– “What makes great teaching?“(Coe, et al. 2014)
All of our lessons, projects and curriculum follow a learning cycle that is designed to match the pedagogical framework that we have described above, called Explore, Learn, Create.
Along with our foundational pedagogy and learning cycle, we also follow evidence-based practices for curriculum design.
Teaching through Real-World Connections
Our lessons are designed to create authentic learning experiences where students can experience connections to real world issues and problems, exposing them to key global issues and themes.
Teaching Social Emotional Learning
Our curriculum designers use a social emotional learning lens when designing lessons that connect to key issues in social justice, critical race pedagogy, and culturally relevant practices.
Best Practices in Computer Science Education
Our team consults best practices in computer science education in our approach to designing and developing coding projects that align to rigorous standards such as CSTA and ISTE.
User Experience and Interface Design
We design our platform so that students and teachers can easily operate and navigate through it in an intuitive and logical manner. Continual improvement on the design of our product relies on feedback from customers and prioritisation for new developments and features, using the RISE methodology for continuous improvement.
To prepare students for undefined futures where artificial intelligence, augmented reality and data privacy are all emerging topics with tremendous impacts on society, we embed 4 approaches into our curriculum that have been identified as future proof and fundamental:
a) Computational Thinking
b) Design Thinking
d) Digital Citizenship
BSD Education has earned the Research-Based Design Product Certification from Digital Promise. The Research-Based Design Product Certification uses a competency-based learning framework, developed in consultation with Digital Promise’s Learner Variability Project advisory board, expert researchers in the Learning Sciences field, and nearly 50 educators across the United States.
A method that helps students to break down complex problems into smaller manageable parts (decomposition) and develop solutions for the individual components by identifying patterns and similarities between all the parts (pattern recognition), solving each problem on its own (abstraction) and then developing an unified solution for the entire problem that can be reused multiple times (algorithm).
A method for innovating, based on the needs of a particular user or group of users. Students as designers first seek to understand the problems that a particular group faces (empathize). Once the problem has been determined, (define) then student designers will make a planned solution (ideate) that can be rapidly made into a minimal viable product (prototype). To be sure the design functions as intended, the users should be able to test the design (test). Student designers will often make and test several prototypes and refine parts of it before a final solution is ready to publish or scale.
HTML provides the structure of web pages, like headings and sections.
CSS provides the style and look of the web page, like colors and fonts.
To prepare students for the workplace of tomorrow, a comprehensive understanding of digital citizenship is vital. All of our curriculum is infused with learning opportunities in digital citizenship so that students see how citizenship is a natural part of interacting online, and in virtual communities instead of an isolated practice.
A logic model is a tool that researchers and practitioners use to align the objectives of a product or service to measured outputs that are proven by peer-reviewed research. The research that best supports the Outcomes in our logic model are divided into 3 categories: Teacher Ability, Technical Skills, and Project-Based Curriculum.
Learning to program and adopting new digital skills can be a difficult process for both teachers and students. Our product is designed to be an effective tool for teachers, which means that teachers will be provided with an opportunity to expand their own digital skills. Ying-Shao et al. (2007) have found that when teachers have ongoing support and trust in the product, their ability and effectiveness to teach technical skills increases. At BSD, we help to build trust in the product by providing onboarding support, professional development, and continued support during all stages of use.
Teachers all over the world have found our approach to support and professional development to be very effective. Kathy Smith, a teacher in the US says, “the professional development was phenomenal, they included hands-on parts so that we could actually get the experience of doing it just as a student would do it.”
We take learning to code seriously and provide an easy-to-navigate structure for new learners. Rum and Ismail (2017) have found that metacognitive reflection improves performance for novice programmers. In order to facilitate metacognitive reflection and support novice learners, we have embedded opportunities throughout our projects to ask questions in quizzes and re-introduce introductory topics to help with retention, in a process called metacognitive scaffolding. This process allows learners to slowly learn new skills and self-reflect on the process, which is important for learning to code.
To best serve our students, BSD Education curriculum is designed around projects like “design a multi-page website for a community organization” or “make an interactive digital story for a unique target audience”. These projects weave together personal interest, cultural relevance, and acquisition of new coding skills. Hsu and Hwang (2017) have found that when learning to code, structured projects are better than open-ended activities. Our structured projects introduce students to the topics of the projects through lessons, videos and other interactive activities. When students start the coding aspect of the project, we apply a scaffolded approach to teach coding in a way that breaks down complex content into steps that build in difficulty and sequence. Belland et al (2013) have found that scaffolding the knowledge of new content can increase student motivation and engagement. In a 2021 survey of students learning from BSD Education courses, 99% found our courses to be engaging.
A project-based approach has other benefits, Drake and Long (2009) have found that students show an increase in problem-solving ability when learning through projects. The nature of a project-based approach means that students are prompted with a challenge, problem, or driving question that requires critical thinking and problem-solving to complete. In every BSD Education project, students will have the opportunity to flex and increase their problem-solving skills.
At BSD Education, we know that in order to provide high quality products to teachers and students, it must start with a strong foundation that comes from research, proven methods, and from best practices within the fields of education and the workforce.
Want more? Download BSD’s Curriculum Development Process to learn more about research-backed critical theories of action and key approaches that drive success in the classroom and back our pedagogical foundation.
Our turnkey solution provides everything you need from resourses, tools and unrivaled support for you to bring digital skills learning to your classroom.