Creating a village for CS Educators.
The University of California San Diego (UCSD) has been awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation for an exciting education outreach project called "Computer Science: Creating A Village for Educators (CS: CaVE)" to design, support, and test the efficacy and sustainability of a district-based model for scaling and providing sustained support for teacher professional development to teach the new Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science Principles (CSP) course. CSP focuses on computer science principles, providing students with a foundational understanding of the underlying logic, grammar, thinking and communication skills, and problem-solving approaches of computational thinking. Courses and curricula meeting the AP CSP learning objectives have been piloted at a number of sites but a major obstacle persists: the lack of professional secondary school educators capable of teaching CSP effectively. Using proven curriculum and pedagogy developed through a UCSD CS Principles pilot project, CS: CaVE aims to provide a model for building, growing and sustaining a regional community of high school CS Principles teachers. It creates "villages" for educators, with district- and peer-based supports for introduction of new curricular and pedagogical content. This district-based "village" model prepares CS Principles Master Teachers within each district and develops effective, sustainable supports for new CS Principles teachers.
Systemic educational change requires district-level support to be launched, incrementally scaled, and sustained. For schools and teachers, districts translate curricular change in the context of policy and administrative requirements at the local and state level. The district-based "village" model being tested and evaluated in this project develops district master teachers as well as local and distributed, in-person and virtual peer support designed to persist after external funding ends. If successful, the project will introduce and scale a new AP CS Principles course through three major secondary school districts within San Diego County. Equally important, it will create a university-connected, district-based training structure for keeping the course (and related computing courses) current as new technologies and global challenges place increasing demands on the workforce skills and knowledge needed by high school graduates.
Project Goals and Outcomes
We aim to create “districts as villages” to support broad introduction of Computer Science (CS) Principles in high schools. Our research focus is on how to create sustainability in offering of this course, and on how this study may act as a case study for the more general challenge of rapidly updating secondary school curriculum in the face of accelerating skills and knowledge demands of a technology innovation-based economy. We seek to create and study three different district “villages.” Each of these districts differs in size, cohesion, and political underpinnings. The way in which we create villages thus may differ from one district to another, but the goal for all of them is the same: To build sustainable support for expanding CS Principles into all of their high schools. This project is designed to test the efficacy and sustainability of a district-based model for the professional development, and ongoing support of teachers for a new Advanced Placement (AP) CS Principles course in secondary schools, both within and across districts.