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Award for Teaching Excellence Recipient: Steven Floyd
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Steven Floyd

Mother Teresa Catholic Secondary School

London, Ontario, Canada




“Computer Science (CS) teaching strategies and classroom culture need to promote student choice and autonomy. Some of our students will go on to study CS, while others can benefit immensely by being exposed to the problem solving, computational thinking and algorithm design inherent in our field. I believe these are transferable skills that students can develop in our CS classes and then use to help solve problems in a wide variety of areas.”



Steven has been teaching CS for fourteen years at Mother Teresa CSS in London, Ontario, Canada. His original dream to  become a full time physical education teacher was thwarted after teaching his first CS class in 2003 and realizing: “This is amazing!”

His classroom instruction emphasizes language independent problem solving, computational thinking, algorithm design, and student choice. He believes that the skills developed through the study of CS will serve students well in a wide variety of fields.

 Steven’s instructional methods usually center around three main ideas:

1. Providing multiple levels of entry to concepts

2. Providing multiple contexts in which to learn and apply concepts

3. Facilitating multiple pathways for students

 His instruction makes use of analogies and metaphors, allowing students to compare new CS concepts to prior knowledge. After developing a basic understanding of these concepts, a wide variety of challenges and extension activities are provided. What results is often a classroom full of students working towards their own, individualized, level of achievement.

Steven believes that we are fortunate to be teaching at a time where there exists a wide variety of programming environments and languages that are available at little or no cost. The fewer barriers to entry provide teachers with a wide variety of choice in terms of programming languages (JAVA, Python, Visual Basic, Javascript, Apple Swift, etc) and hardware (Raspberry Pis, Arduinos, Lego NXTs and EV3s, etc). By using a broad array of tools, students are given several contexts in which to make sense of, and apply, complex concepts.

Steven’s work in developing and running the Specialist High Skills Major program in Information Communications Technology (ICT) at his school has allowed students to pursue several workplace and academic coop placements, certifications and reach ahead opportunities within the area of ICT and CS. Steven is also lead mentor for his school’s FIRST Robotics FRC Team and has written online CS courses for the Ontario Ministry of Education.

Steven has also presented his coding, robotics and computational thinking work at a number of Educational conferences. His sessions focused on helping teachers apply tools such as LEGO NXT robotics, Raspberry Pis, Arduinos, Scratch, Scratch Jr and BeeBots to foster CS skills in students.

During the past two years Steven has worked with other teachers in his board in an effort to expand CS instruction to the elementary grades. His group’s Action Research work has been featured on TVO’s Teach Ontario site. He is also concluding work on a year long project entitled: From Club to Classroom - Schoolwide Integration of Computational Thinking, in which himself and a number of Educators brought coding, robotics and makerspace ideas to students from ages 4 to 14.

Finally, Steven believes that the creative and entrepreneurial elements of our academic area are so enjoyable and rewarding for students and teachers, that they should not be neglected.

“Over the last few years I've been amazed at the way students have applied course concepts to new contexts that they’ve discovered on their own. Each year a student hands in projects and I say to myself: “I’ve never thought of doing it that way.” Student ideas often become teaching tools or assignments for the next year’s class. In this way, I’m learning alongside the students.”

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