Each month this year, we will highlight one member of the CS for All Teachers community.
Name: Nancy McGowan
Occupation: Math coach
Workplace: Shades Mountain Elementary in Hoover, Alabama
Years in education: 31
Years teaching computer science: 20
What is your background in computer science?
My background in computer science was a gradual process of learning by doing so that I could teach my students. I participated in any and all opportunities to move forward. A huge boost to my overall understanding was to complete an educational specialist degree in educational technology.
Describe the most favorite CS project you have completed with your students.
In computer science, my students have completed a variety of projects from creating web pages using HTML to developing Scratch and Tynker projects. Each of these projects is my favorite because they lend themselves to my students working logically as well as creatively as they design a project based upon a topic for which they have a strong interest in researching further.
As teachers, we try every day to inspire our students. When have you been inspired by your students?
I am inspired by my students each day. Their enthusiasm and fresh perspective make being an educator the BEST job ever.
What is your proudest professional accomplishment?
My proudest professional accomplishment would be my students. I am thrilled when they return to visit me and I LOVE reading and hearing about THEIR accomplishments.
What excites you most about the current state of computer science education in the US?
Computer science education has become more kid-friendly. Students as early as kindergarten can experience programming and be successful producers of content. Being in the driver’s seat is what learning is all about. So, to the programmers who made this a possibility….THANK YOU!
What is your favorite CS tool or resource?
We use a variety of tools in elementary, but my favorite so far has been Scratch. It appeals to so many learning styles: logical thinkers create games using cause and effect, highly verbal students can produce stories, and my artistically-talented students produce some of the most amazing creations simply using the ellipse tool. With each program, we are able to integrate mathematics, specifically geometry.
What do you enjoy most about participating in CS for All Teachers?
The part I enjoy most about participating in CS for All Teachers is the spirit of community and collaboration. Each person shares what they know and welcomes newcomers with great enthusiasm.