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Teaching Computing to Gifted and talent children

How to teach G&T in computing

As my previous review has highlighted the problems associated with the G&T term and meaning it makes more sense to pursue the study using the term able student because able reflects an incremental type learner, rather than the label Giftedness as a state of being.

The subject that I teach is computing, therefore I will be considering the approach to giftedness in conjunction with the use of computers.

Technology offers more exciting and innovative ways for G&T to learn'(Berger−Sandra.)

Gifted children find motivation in class difficult, These motivational difficulties may stem from the fact that gifted students tend to be self-motivated, rather than teacher-motivated. They typically perform better with unstructured, flexible assignments and they prefer to select their own learning experiences, rather than being given a set task (Beth A. Hennessey).

Technology allows students to more easily make corrections and add creative touches to showcase their individuality ‘(Berger−Sandra.). Furthermore, student’s fast-paced attitude is supplemented by the use of the internet versus using print materials in a library. Technology has given students a whole new vehicle for learning. The technology provides opportunities for teachers to meet the needs of students with various learning styles through the use of multiple media.

Other studies go beyond making a point just about student motivation and find that technology greatly increases achievement. The use of laptops and programs such as Reading Counts has helped students to maximize their full potential. “The motivation level of the students rose astronomically. Interest level skyrocketed.” These programs, and similar ones, have helped teachers to organize, deliver, and test information. Students are learning more in less time and retaining more than ever. Specifically, as in Laptops + Challenging Curriculum = Student Success, (Berger−Sandra.)As a result, students are becoming more self-sufficient and willing to share knowledge. (Lawrence A. Tomei)

There are examples of Online virtual learning that are specifically geared specificaly towards G&T students, such as VLE’s, (1) Stanford’s Education Program for Gifted Youth ( /courses/); (2) The Center for Talented Youth ( /index.html). EPGY offers self directed study, perfect for able students ( (Lawrence A. Tomei).

G&T application

Lessons that provide student based learning rather than teacher based learning produces a more gifted calibre student who is able to think out of the box and best addresses the needs of all kinds of learners in the class (Lawrence A. Tomei). ‘A central focus of the educator is to maximize the capacity of each learner’. An example of the best types of questions used are open ended questions that allow for independant exploration can be seen in the model below (an extract from Dr. Roger Taylor’s workshop on Current, Best Instructional Strategies for Your Gifted and Highly Capable Students);

Brainstorming Model

(encourages fluent thinking)

List all of the ___

List as many ___ as you can think of

How many ways can you come up with ___

Viewpoint Model

(encourages seeing from a different point of view)

How would this look to a ___

What would a ___mean from the viewpoint of a ___?

How would ___view this?

Involvement Model

(encourages associative thinking)

How would you feel if you were __?

If you were a ___ what would you (see, taste, smell,


Conscious Self-Deceit Model

(encourages students to imagine that something is true or not

true and consider the consequences)

Suppose you could have anything you wanted. What ideas

could you produce if this were true?

You have been given the power to___. How will you

use it?

Forced Association Model

(encourages making comparisons between different things)

How is a ___like a ___?

Get ideas from __to improve ___.

Reorganization Model

(encourages reorganization of information)

What would happen if ___ were true?

Suppose ___ happened, what would be the consequences?

What would happen if there were no ___?

(Lawrence A. Tomei)

the intention of these types of questions is to stimulate imaginative and creative thought, or investigate cause and effect relationships, or provoke deeper thought or extensive investigations.

  • Challenges thinking abilities
  • Encourages several answers, or possibilities and stimulates idea creation
  • Requires unusual or multiple answers
  • Extracts information which is already learned and stimulates productive and divergent thinking
  • Includes a large percentage of open questions
  • Provides an ideal opportunity to ask thought provoking and probing questions
  • Encourages students to ask divergent questions of their peers and of their teacher

These questions extend those who are able, they should be encouraged ‘to ask questions of the instructor and of their classmates. It takes students out of only the response mode and encourages them to set their own agenda for exploration.’

It is important that we model the kinds of questions that stimulate higher level thinking. “Higher level” questions produce deeper learning than “lower level” questions. Also “Waiting” briefly before accepting responses from students has the effect of increasing the depth of students’ answers. (Lawrence A. Tomei)