- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Teachers became students last week in a training workshop dealing with computer science.
Through a three-year partnership with Code.org, Charles County Public Schools is incorporating computer science in more classrooms from kindergarten through 12th grade.
Representatives from the organization and school system staff hosted last week’s workshop at the College of Southern Maryland La Plata campus.
More than 75 teachers participated in the computer science program.
“We’re teaching the teachers the methods and giving them the tools to get kids out of the shallow end of the pool and into the deep end when it comes to computers,” Exploring Computer Science instructor Karen Hardy of Code.org said.
Hardy said in addition to teachers preparing to teach technology and computer science classes, there were teachers in other subjects including, art, mathematics and chemistry.
Code.org is a national nonprofit dedicated to promoting computer science education around the country. The program has partnerships in several school districts, including Montgomery County.
Code.org provides professional development resources, including stipends for teachers and materials for students.
Hardy said teachers are being trained to incorporate computer science in any subject.
For example, students can use computers in history class to help research a topic. While learning about the history topic, students also can learn and practice search engine skills on the computer.
Hardy said the curriculum Code.org uses weaves in equity, inquiry and computer science concepts.
It is designed to get students to think more and ask more questions.
The workshop last week involved a lot of critical thinking, problem solving, visualization and collaboration, Hardy said.
She said teachers broke into smaller groups and practiced teaching the lessons. Many lessons steer away from straight lectures and encourage more engaging activities.
Melanie Cole, a teacher at North Point High School in Waldorf, will begin teaching a technology course this year, and the workshop, she said, helped provide her with information and prepared her to teach the class effectively.
Joe Greenawalt, a computer science teacher at North Point, said the workshop and the partnership itself was “a huge opportunity.”
He said the professional development is providing teachers with insights into effective instructional strategies and the ability to apply those strategies in a way that “reaches an increasing number of our students.”
Hardy said the goal is to get more and more people familiar with and comfortable with computer science.
The workshop was held at CSM as part of the college’s science, technology, engineering and math outreach.
Shadei Jones, CSM pre-engineering coordinator, said it was a great opportunity for public schools and an opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of computer science education.