The University of Alabama and A+ College Ready, a National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) partner, plan to develop and evaluate a model for the scalable deployment and sustainable persistence of the new CS Principles course across a statewide network of teachers in Alabama. The model adopts the successful practices of a national Advanced Placement (AP) training program developed by NMSI, but adjusts the model to the specific needs of computer science professional development. The professional development plans include in-person training and distance learning collaboration. To address the specific needs for computer science, the activities will provide year-long professional development to support teachers, rather than the week-long summer institutes that are typical of most AP training programs in other STEM areas. A statewide “Teacher Leader” model will be explored where those already teaching more rigorous CS courses (e.g., the existing AP CS A) will assist in training new peer cohorts as they establish CS Principles in their schools. Teachers in these cohorts will collaborate together on content and pedagogical learning experiences, fostered by peer leaders. The pedagogical approach will be centered on inquiry/discovery-based techniques that introduce computer science as a broad set of topics as defined by the learning objectives contained in the Big Ideas of CS Principles. The elaboration of the model will support both rural and urban school teachers through use of virtual collaboration tools (e.g., Blackboard Collaborate or ACCESS, which is a statewide distance learning infrastructure deployed in all Alabama schools.
Project Website: N/A
Principal Investigator: Jeff Gray, University of Alabama