Making Computer Science Teachable to K-12 Students

Making Computer Science Teachable to K-12 Students


STEFANIE ISMAIL:
There’s no question that every student needs
to know computer science, especially in this day and age. My first year in
teaching computer science to middle schoolers,
my confidence level was pretty low. If I was struggling
with it, I couldn’t imagine how the kids
might struggle with it. SARAH GOODMAN: It’s
really important to have teachers coached in
computers and in computer science, because they don’t
get that kind of experience in their teacher
preparation programs. They don’t have
access to somebody who is an expert in technology. DIANE LEVITT: You
can’t really say that you’re getting a
child ready for the future without getting them to
understand computer science. The students of New
York City public schools are traditionally students have
been left out of the computer science classroom,
largely students of color, largely students from poverty. Our work is a stake
in the ground that says, where you
were born should not have anything to do
with your understanding of the world you live in. STEFANIE ISMAIL: So as the
initiative came to the school, my intimidation of
computer science changed drastically,
because I was able to get the help of
a resident teacher, Meg. MEG RAY: There is a
lot of computer science curricula coming out. But does it work
in the classroom? Do teachers know how to use it? Is it culturally responsive? Is it inclusive of
students with disabilities? We are taking what’s out there
and working with teachers to make sure that it does
meet all those needs. STEFANIE ISMAIL: Meg went
through every lesson with us. Half of the lesson was spent
teaching us the content. The other half of the
lesson was spent teaching us how to teach the content. She was able to help
me anticipate areas the students would
struggle with and how to go around these
struggles, things that I wouldn’t have been
able to do on my own. Working with the
teacher resident changed my teaching practice. And then I was more open
to trying something new. THEA CHARLES: What I’m excited
about with the work at Cornell Tech and their K
to 12 initiative, that there’s so much
engagement across the board. The teachers are all on
board with what’s happening. If you to a classroom,
the students are really excited
about what’s happening. The teaching residents are
so dedicated to the work. And the work fits a model that
other people can take and adapt in different areas. STEFANIE ISMAIL:
Having a coach like Meg was able to get me to encourage
this level of excitement in my students. And what I felt was
even more exciting was this hunger in them. DIANE LEVITT: This is
an opportunity for us to use technology and a
computer science education to close the equity gap, to
open doors of opportunity. STEFANIE ISMAIL: I’m
feeling very confident. Next year I plan on
doing this again. And I’m really excited about it. SARAH GOODMAN: When you see an
institution like Cornell Tech committed to all of the
students of New York City and every
student in our class, it gives us a lot of optimism. They feel like the
future of New York and the future of the
world is something that they are a part of.

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