STEM

K-8 School Partners with University To Boost Teacher Computer Science Skills

A public elementary and middle school has teamed up with a college in its area to deliver professional development to help teachers add computer science activities into their curriculum. Roosevelt Island Public School, a K-8 school, will begin working with Cornell Tech, a graduate school, to help deliver tech education to children in the New York City area.

Teachers have already received a six-week introduction to computer science. And the two schools have co-hosted an event to introduce families of Roosevelt Island PS to the program and lay out the concepts their children would be learning. As part of that, family members took a coding workshop and learned how to create a holiday-themed game.

Now Roosevelt teachers in grades K-3 will work with a Cornell K-12 education expert Diane Levitt to learn how to integrate computational thinking into their instructional practices. The instructors in grades 4-8 will work with a computer science education consultant to learn how to add coding into their teaching and take additional training from the New York-based Museum of the Moving Image to design lessons on game design and digital media.

"We want teachers to have the computing content knowledge to be able to help students become digital creators," said Levitt in a prepared statement. "We think this starts with building teachers' expertise and comfort and then moving with them into developing curriculum and teaching strategies."

This isn't the first K-12 initiative undertaken by Cornell Tech. The school, which is a partnership between Cornell University and Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, hosted two summer programs for middle and high school students, to help them build their skills in computer science, design and entrepreneurship. It also runs a twice-annual series of events that bring together educators, nonprofit leaders, funders and others to discuss challenges in K-12 tech education and to share best practices.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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