It’s a given that today’s students need technology skills to be competitive in the global economy. Increasingly, corporate leaders state they cannot find the talent needed to fill technical jobs. While computer science is only one high-tech field in the news, it is particularly pertinent for the Bay Area. A few companies are doing something about the shortage of computer science graduates, and these companies know it’s important to focus on K-12 education.
This spring, the KCI, in partnership with Industry Initiative for Science & Mathematics Education (IISME), is launching a new computer science program, sponsored by a grant from Google. The program will consist of 24 hours of professional learning for IISME teachers who are interested in learning how to integrate computational thinking, computer science, and coding into their curriculum.
The computer science program consists of two parts. The first is a Computational Thinking (CT) Workshop, which will help teachers learn CT skills and will include best practices to implement these in the classroom. The workshop will focus on collaborative problem solving and will include time for participants to understand how CT applies in their content area and to work on simple CT projects to introduce in their classrooms. Up to 75 IISME teachers will participate in the three, one-day workshops. The workshop will also prepare the IISME teachers to get the most from the second part of the program—a follow on three-day Computer Science Workshop.
In the hands-on Computer Science Workshop, teachers will develop confidence in their own coding skills and will gain background in other aspects of computer science—not just coding. They will learn both the content and pedagogy needed to bring CS to their classrooms. Using tools like MIT’s Scratch and MIET’s Starlogo Nova, teachers will work on projects that integrate CS into existing K-12 Math, Science, Art, History or Language Arts curriculum.
The KCI is fortunate to have a very experienced instructor, Sheena Vaidyanathan, leading the program. Sheena has been teaching computer science in California public schools for six years and has extensive experience with K-8 curriculum development and professional development. Prior to her teaching career, Sheena worked in Silicon Valley’s technology industry. She holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in computer science as well as a California Single Subject Teaching Credential in Math. She also routinely presents at conferences and writes articles on CS education.
To learn more about the computer science program, contact Liane Freeman (ude.adhfnull@enailnameerf).