Tips for Tech-Limited Classrooms

Making CS First accessible to all students in all types of classrooms is important to CS First. These best practices, developed in partnership with West Virginia University faculty, provide insight on how to use CS First in a variety of technical environments.

Limited devices

Many classrooms do not have enough computers to provide one for each student. Here are two potential solutions:

  1. Pair or group students: Assign one student as the driver. This person controls the computer. Another student, who explains the directions to the driver, is the instructor. Switch roles every few minutes.
  2. Rotate stations: Consider splitting your class into groups. One group of students rotates to the computer station to complete the theme or sample activity. The other groups of students can work on the offline activities provided in the CS First Contingency Plan.

Limited Bandwidth

In some cases, CS First videos can slow the Internet for the entire class due to bandwidth restrictions. If this is an issue you face, we recommend downloading the videos you need to access for your class.

To download videos:

  1. Visit the Curriculum page.
  2. Select the sample activity or theme.
  3. Click on the video you need to access.
  4. Once the video loads, click on the three vertical white dots on the bottom right hand side of the video screen.
  5. Click Download. The video will download to your local device.

From there, you can show the downloaded videos on a projector or screen for the entire class to see. When you reach the add-on portion for an activity, have students vote on which add-on they'd like to watch together.

Tip: Consider saving downloaded videos to a portable storage device like a thumb drive.

No Internet Access

There are situations where there is no Internet access available in the classroom. A possible workaround for this scenario is to use the Scratch Offline Editor and to download the student videos.

  1. Identify a high-bandwidth location to download and install the Scratch Offline Editor on each student computer prior to class.
  2. Download the videos that you need to access to portable storage device (see instructions above).
  3. Show the downloaded videos on a projector or screen for the entire class to see.
  4. After watching each video, instruct students to program what they learned using the Scratch Offline Editor.
    1. Note: Students must save their projects to their local device when using the Scratch Offline Editor

Other technical issues

  • Firewall restrictions: If you’re running a sample activity or theme at a school or library computer lab, check for firewall restrictions to the CS First website. If your firewall prevents accessing the site, ask your school or library administrator to permit access.
  • Update your Internet browser: If you experience issues with videos freezing or not loading, make sure you’re running the most up-to-date version of your Internet browser. See this help article for other troubleshooting tips.

Video features

All CS First videos include transcripts, closed captions, and playback speed options (slow, normal, and fast) to help teachers in a variety of classroom environments.

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