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The Curriculum Developer Spotlight series on our blog highlights the unique and talented educators that write Codelicious curriculum. Keep reading to learn more about Sandy’s background, expertise, and approach to computer science in the classroom.
“I knew that I needed to do more to prepare
students to be successful in the evolving
workforce.”— Sandy Dibble
Ever since my dad introduced me to the thrill of thinking creatively and cracking a challenging math puzzle when I was in second grade, I’ve had a passion for solving problems. The sense of fulfillment I got from discovering solutions drove me to join my elementary school’s math team, study mathematics education, and become a teacher. I wanted my students to have the same feeling of accomplishment that comes from reasoning through a complex problem and finally uncovering a solution. More importantly, I wanted to make math fun.
As a math teacher, I focused on fostering the problem-solving and mathematical reasoning skills of my students. I cultivated these skills through hands-on and relevant units, such as the math behind animation. During this time, I also became passionate about crafting engaging and thought provoking lessons that developed my students’ innate curiosity and creativity. However, I could not always devote sufficient time to the creation of these materials, and my school’s more traditional math curriculum did not include the exploratory experiences that I desired for my students.
Later, I took on a new role in education as the Director of Student Advancement at Sylvan Learning, where my focus shifted to students’ growth as a whole. I worked with parents and local teachers to meet students’ overall academic goals. By customizing students’ educational plans and programs, I became familiar with the needs of students in grades K-12 across multiple levels and schools. Through this experience, I found that students across the board struggled to think critically and problem-solve.
One particular meeting with a family was a lightbulb moment for me. On that day, while explaining the non-calculator math portion of the SAT, I realized that the math skills taught and assessed on the SAT would not be enough to prepare my students for tomorrow’s jobs. Sure, they might get into college, but would they succeed after graduating? Manually solving equations using the quadratic formula would not prepare my students for success in today’s world. They needed concrete and authentic experiences instead of memorizing procedures and processes to find solutions. I knew that I needed to do more to prepare students to be successful in the evolving workforce.
“I realized that the math
skills taught and assessed
on the SAT would not be
enough to prepare my
students for tomorrow’s
jobs.”— Sandy Dibble
My drive to refocus on building students’ logical reasoning skills led me to seek out other opportunities. When I found Codelicious, I knew I wanted to be a part of guiding students to embrace technology. As computer science continues to advance and shape every aspect of our daily lives, it is imperative that students understand how technology works in order to use it safely and effectively. Additionally, businesses need problem-solvers who are capable of thinking abstractly, recognizing patterns, developing algorithms, and using technology to answer difficult questions.
At Codelicious, our curriculum teaches computational thinking skills through real-world projects, discussions on ethical behavior, and industry career profiles, while providing support to teachers who are unfamiliar with computer science fundamentals. I know how much time it takes to develop meaningful lessons that are stimulating and relevant to students. Our curriculum gives this time back to teachers by providing detailed steps that any teacher can follow so teachers can focus on what they do best: teaching.
Writing for Codelicious gives me the chance to tap into my creativity and feel connected to students and teachers even though I am no longer in the classroom. I love that our curriculum gives students the confidence to take risks, learn from mistakes, persevere, and ultimately walk away with a love of problem-solving.
Explore our library of free eLearning lessons to introduce computer science concepts in your classroom. Each download comes with a step-by-step lesson plan and helpful instructional video!