- PD — During the 2013-2014 school year we will provide professional learning opportunities for ECS teachers on various Saturdays during the school year. These are held at UCLA.
- Field Trips — We are looking to create opportunities for ECS students to visit industry or education venues to further their engagement in and understanding of the world of computer science. We have partnered with some industry leaders to sponsor these events and are looking for more partners.
- Teacher Gatherings — Apart from the Saturday professional development opportunities we have periodic opportunities for teachers and the ECS team to gather after work to build community and share experiences. We are looking to build inquiry groups of teachers who share a common area of practice that they would like to explore in a deeper way.
Teacher Professional Development
The ECS team has participated in the following events:
- San Jose ECS PD
- Carnegie Mellon University CS4HS
- University of Texas CS4HS
- University of Illinois at Chicago CS4HS
- Chicago Public Schools teachers
- Puerto Rico educators through the Caribbean Computing Center for Excellence
ECS Summer 2011 Institute
During the week of June 27, 2011, sixteen current ECS teachers joined up with a new cohort of eleven ECS teachers for a professional development held at UCLA. For four days, teachers collaborated in teams to prepare and model lessons from the ECS curriculum, provide feedback to one another, brainstorm ideas for how to design and evaluate formative and summative assessments, discuss and engage in inquiry-based learning, assist each other in learning how to use and teach with Scratch, and discuss equity issues both in computer science classrooms and the field of computer science at large. Whether the focus of conversation was around project-based learning, student identity in computer science classrooms related to race/ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, and sexuality OR around student learning with technology, teachers were exceptionally engaged and offered valuable insights from their diverse range of educational and personal experiences. This year’s PD was a significant step forwards in building an on-going and active professional learning community for LAUSD ECS teachers!
Summer Mobilize PD
In July 2011, five ECS teachers partnered with Math and Science educators from their respective schools to form interdisciplinary Mobilize teaching teams. Mobilize is a project in which students will use mobile phones and web services to systematically collect and interpret data about issues important to them and their communities. The goal of Mobilize is to strengthen computer science instruction throughout our educational system and to develop innovative methods for educating and engaging students in computational thinking and data analysis (please see www.mobilizingcs.org for more details about the project). These teaching teams formed an expert, Mobilize “think tank,” as teachers shared ideas about how to collaborate across disciplines, incorporate the Mobilize curriculum into their respective classrooms, design and implement community-focused research campaigns with students, and support student learning around data collection and analysis. Over the two week professional development, teachers got to experience what their students soon will be: teachers used the mobile phones to collect data through our “advertising media” and “snacking” apps, they learned how to analyze this data using various statistical programs (such as “R”), and they shared their results with each other in final presentations. Teachers also attended seminars and workshops at the UCLA Center for Embedded Network Sensing (CENS), providing an opportunity to interact with and learn alongside students attending the CENS High School Scholars Program. The Mobilize teacher community that blossomed out of this professional development will help lead other teachers who join our project in the next several years.
ECS Presentation at CS&IT 2011
On July 12, 2011, ECS teachers Anthony Pagan (Jefferson High School) and Nora Comelli (Roosevelt High School) presented with Joanna Goode and Gail Chapman at the Computer Science Information Technology (CSIT) Symposium held at Columbia University by the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA). During their panel entitled “Student Learning and Computational Thinking: How do you know they know?”, Anthony and Nora shared their experiences of teaching and supporting students through teacher professional development, looking at student work, videotaping teaching and learning, and coaching.
Exploring Computer Science Day 2011
As part of our efforts to break stereotypes of who excels in computer science, provide students with positive role models, give exposure to industry professionals, and higher education, we held our second annual ECS field trip to UCLA. This year, ECS at UCLA day was held on April 28, 2011 and was attended by over 400 ECS students from Los Angeles schools. Presentations were given by the Spelbots, an all African-American female robotics team from Spelman College, several Googlers from Google Santa Monica, as well as a showcasing of ECS student work in Scratch. Students also had the opportunity to informally tour the UCLA campus.The day after the field trip, a brief online survey was administered to students to gauge their reaction to the presentations and to assess how they might have been impacted from their attendance. The survey results show that the students were impacted by these presentations, particularly from the tour of the campus and from the presentation by the Spelbots, and many responses show the desired effect of students being inspired by a robotics team consisting of young minority female students. Students enjoyed the presentation from the Spelbots Robotics team and gave very enthused responses. As one student explained, “What caught my full attention was the robot that was created by the Spelbots Team. It was astonishing how the robot was programmed from scratch and designed to dance.” Some students explained that the field trip helped them to consider a future career in a computer science related field. One student remarked that he liked “the fact that they had people speaking well about their experiences in the computer science field, and what are some of the things that they have felt, experienced, and learned.” As one student explained, “I learned more on the importance of computer science and the jobs and benefits it offers. I also learned about how many ways robots can be used and how fun it can be.”A number of students responded that seeing the diversity of people in computer science impacted them, and those who were impacted seemed to be inspired in a significant way. As one student explained, “It doesn’t matter your gender because anyone can build robots with their creativity.” Another student elaborated on the idea that anybody can create projects with the tools of computer science: “In the computer and technology field there are many opportunities for everyone equally and there are lots to experiences to be experienced.” Another student agreed, adding, “We can create sorts of many things from scratch and plus it doesn’t matter your gender because anyone can build robots with their creativity.”