A team of three professors at Hood College is entering the fourth phase of a multi-year effort to educate educators about computer science with a new grant.
The nearly $40,000 grant from the Maryland Center for Computing Education (MCCE), announced last month, is the latest in a series of awards that began in 2019.
Ongoing programs that partner Hood with other local educational institutions, including Frederick Community College and Frederick County Public Schools, aim to give prospective, new, and veteran teachers an understanding of calculative thinking. I’m doing it.
Ideally, elementary and middle school students should learn about computer science from people with computer science backgrounds, says Jennifer Kadapar, PhD, Professor of Organizational Leadership at Hood.
But it’s not happening on a large scale in Frederick County or anywhere else in the country, she said.
“Once you have a degree in computer science, the field of education becomes less attractive,” says Cuddapah. “It’s a very niche person who wants to get a degree at that level and says, ‘Look, the money isn’t that important. He wants to work for a third of what he makes.'”
Instead, Hood is working to provide public school teachers, many of whom have never taken a computer science course, with the foundational knowledge they need to lay the groundwork for their students, Cuddapah said. said.
“We want our kids to understand that so they can choose these different areas,” Kudapa said. is in need.”
Cuddapah has led the mission in Frederick County since 2019, along with Marisel Torres-Crespo, Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education and Jiang Li, Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Hood College.
It started with a series of workshops where FCPS teachers and Hood Education students could begin to grasp the basic computational concepts of logic, coding and problem solving.
Then, during the pandemic, current and future educators worked to design robotics kits and created lesson plans around them.
In the third round, Hood’s computer science experts taught teaching faculty such as Cuddapah and Torres-Crespo a more in-depth workshop.
For the fourth round, Li, Cuddapah and Torres-Crespo are planning a two-day educational conference in partnership with FCPS, FCC and Montgomery College. They want to hold it in April.
Since 2019, 66 current or future educators have been trained through the program, Cuddapah said. About a third of them are teachers in his FCPS classroom.
She and Torres-Crespo said they hoped the conference would expand the scope of the program.
They say it is important for educators to feel confident in providing materials to their students.
“There is nothing more disturbing than teaching something you don’t know,” Kudapa said.
The materials may be difficult, but mastering the basics of numeracy education is easier than many people think, says Tresclespo.
“When you wake up in the morning, you’re solving problems, making decisions, and following directions step by step,” she said. “It’s calculative thinking.”
Neither Cuddapah nor Torres-Crespo have a computer science background. But thanks to partnerships between educators with different specialties, they have seen the program succeed.
“And as long as it lasts, we will continue to apply [for grants] Keep coming up with ideas,” Cuddapah said. We found it fascinating. ”