Wrapping Up the Year with Ruth Maas
Ruth Maas has a decades-long history of positively impacting elementary to college-level students who take her computer science courses. Her love of computer science started when she was in seventh grade, and Mr. Gadd, her math teacher, gave her a book on how to write code in BASIC computer language. Ruth figured out how to code and entered her first programs on the mainframe terminal at her junior high school!
Ruth has used her computer skills as a graphic designer, technical illustrator, and educational technology specialist. She has taught everything from block coding to Python programming. Luckily for WorldOver International School, she joined our staff of talented facilitators when we opened our doors last fall. Now, as the end of the school year approaches, we thought it would be fun to chat with Ruth and ask her to reflect on the 2020-2021 school year.
Q. What classes did you teach this year for WorldOver?
A. I facilitated several computer programming courses — Superhero App Maker, Lightbot Boogie, Pencil Code, Scratch Cat Sports Games, and 3D Object-Oriented Programming using Alice.
I also facilitated STEAM Tools and math courses (Math Bake-Off for elementary students and Math Skills for middle school learners).
Q. What were some of the highlights?
A. This school year, most of the learners were new to programming, and I was amazed at how they mastered so many computer science skills. I loved it when learners designed and coded custom mobile apps, troubleshot the glitches, and then saw their apps work!
When I facilitated my Lightbot Boogie class, I was thrilled to see the learners light up when they solved a coding puzzle and watched their Lightbot avatar make it through the maze in the allotted number of steps.
I want to thank the learners who studied with me. It was a wonderful experience seeing these students learn by doing.
Q. How does WorldOver’s approach to teaching and learning differ from your past experiences?
A. My best year of being an educator has been this past year. I love the fact that WorldOver provides learners with the opportunity to engage in “borderless learning;” the school mission statement resonates with me.
“Borderless learning for students across the globe leads us to discover that we are more similar than different — and that together, we can solve problems.”
I have concluded that the best way for learners to apply their knowledge is by doing, not by just listening or reading. Hands-on, project-based learning is the best way to master new skills and put purpose into learning. Purpose brings relevance to knowledge and motivates learners to try new things.
Q. What are you looking forward to next?
A. I am looking forward to the WorldOver lineup of summer session workshops! There are classes offered that I would even like to take!
Learners are welcome to enroll in my computer programming classes (Superhero App Maker, 3D Object-Oriented Animations using Alice, Code Your Own Music with EarSketch, and Pencil Code). These classes are fun for the kids – and me.
In the 2021-2011 school year, I look forward to offering a new Python Programming course, and I am excited about learners exploring virtual reality field trips. They really are out of this world!
I hope the learners enjoy their experiences at WorldOver International School as much as I enjoy facilitating!