Tuesday, May 16, 2017

UTeach Computer Science - Bringing Computer Science to High School Classrooms Across the Nation

Some regular readers will recall I am a co-founder of the UTeach Natural Sciences program recognized by the The White House as a national model for STEM education for aspiring teachers in 2014 and recipient of funding from the Howard Hughes Foundation, the Department of Education, the National Math and Science Institute and implementation and expansion funding from ExxonMobil. Recently, UTeach has expanded from science, mathematics, and engineering to become more formally involved with the field of computer science and particularly computer science at the middle and secondary level with a focus on children from under-represented populations. UTeach Computer Science has also worked closely with the nationally recognized Advanced Placement Program in forming an effective a scalable approach to STEM education reform at the national level. -Dr. Petrosino 

UTeach Computer Science is a $2.5 million dollar project funded project by the National Science Foundation. The project proposes to strengthen and expand access to computer science (CS) education in U.S. high schools. The project will leverage the Thriving in Our Digital World curriculum, the successful UTeach model for STEM teacher preparation, the unique expertise of the UTeach Institute (the organization charged with ensuring the fidelity of national UTeach implementation and the expansion and the sustainability of related STEM education innovations), and a national network, facilitated by the UTeach Institute, of 44 UTeach partner programs at universities across 21 states and the District of Columbia. The project will develop and scale professional development (PD) that prepares teachers for the new AP® CS Principles course as it becomes officially available in the fall of 2017.

Please CLICK HERE to see the project's video and an explanation of what the grant is trying to accomplish. I speak briefly about project based instruction, computer science, and equity -- some core components of this project for high school students from underserved populations. 

UTeach Computer Science Principles is not a “business as usual” curriculum. It goes beyond programming to address the K12 CS Framework core ideas like creativity, abstraction, global impact, and more. Beyond that, UTeach CSP Principles was developed with the explicit intention of broadening participation among young women and others historically underrepresented in the field. It’s an issue of equity!
There are a number of great CS Principles courses available. Here are the things we think make our course unique:

  • UTeach CS Principles was developed for high school teachers and students by highly experienced and successful secondary CS teachers.
  • The course engages students in authentic, project-based learning, focusing less on programming than deep conceptual understanding and computational thinking skills.
  • UTeach CS Principles can be taught in a variety of classroom and school environments, with no assumptions about students’ access to technology at home.
  • The course was designed using evidence-based strategies that incorporate socially relevant content with the explicit intention of motivating young women and others from groups historically underrepresented in CS.
  • UTeach CS Principles is endorsed by the College Board. It is designed to prepare students to submit Performance Tasks and take the AP Computer Science Principles exam.
  • The turnkey curriculum and teacher materials, coupled with our intensive training and support model, enables teachers and students who are new to computer science to be successful.
  • UTeach CSP has been implemented in 300 classrooms nationwide. Teachers help shape and improve the curriculum and support each other by sharing resources and crowdsourcing solutions.