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A Conversation with Computer Science Teachers

Workshop Spotlight | February 5, 2016


What does President Obama’s Computer Science for All initiative mean for teachers and schools? In New York City, MƒA teachers are ready to lead the way with computer science. This week, in response to the President’s announcement, MƒA Executive Director Megan Roberts and MƒA Deputy Executive Director Courtney Allison hosted a conversation with MƒA Master Teachers who teach computer science in their schools.

The event featured an open space meeting, where MƒA teachers proposed topics of discussion and broke into small groups to explore these themes. Teachers were eager to discuss both content and pedagogy, emphasizing pedagogy will be an essential focus as schools move to offer computer science to more and more students. Brainstormed ideas ranged from creating MƒA model classrooms, smart ways to share resources, supporting colleagues new to computer science who are balancing multiple preps, and how concepts in computer science lend especially well to differentiation within heterogeneous classrooms.

MƒA is committed to supporting these ideas and providing increased opportunities for teachers to continue talking and working together. Already there are plans afoot for a group of teachers to gather over winter break to work on specific curriculum and planning. Others will continue the conversation with MƒA staff to create and plan workshops to support teachers learning more about the underlying mathematical concepts of computer science. Look for more soon on Data Structures, Algorithmic Thinking, and Advanced Mathematics, in addition to workshops focused on specific programming languages.

For the first time in our application cycle, we have created a new track within the MƒA fellowship application specifically for computer science teachers. MƒA Early Career Fellowship applicants who teach at least 80 percent computer science and MƒA Master Teacher Fellowship applicants who teach at least 60 percent computer science may identify it as the focus of their application. They will be able to take the corresponding Praxis exam, complete the lesson design task, and even interview in their field. Stay tuned for more computer science news this spring.