CS4HS at Kean University Provides High School Teachers with Tools for Success

07.15.14

 

Kean University’s annual CS4HS workshop is part of a national effort to improve the quality of high school computer science education. Computer science teachers from across the country gathered at Kean University on July 7 – 10, 2014. Attendees participated in instructional sessions focused on the new AP Computer Science Principles (AP CSP) course. Funded by a four-year $5.2 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant, AP CSP is designed to introduce students to programming and furnish them with a nuanced understanding of the fundamental concepts of computing and its potential for transforming the world in which we live.

“High school students who do not have the opportunity to take a computer science course in high school are really locked out of many, many career paths and professional opportunities,” said program chair Dr. Patricia Morreale. “Kean University is well-acquainted with this challenge, as both the BS in Computer and BS in Information Technology degree programs regularly accept students without prior computer science or information technology experience and graduate them 4 years later as talented newcomers to the profession,” observed Morreale.

CS4HS attendees also participated in workshops on Google Add-Ons for Docs and Sheets, Recruiting for CS classes, and CS Advocacy initiatives. Dr. Dan Garcia, senior lecturer at UC Berkeley, chaired a session on the joy of computing and educator Baker Franke addressed the group, providing insight into Chicago's CS efforts and plans for Code.org. 

CS4HS receives annual funding from Google's CS4HS program.  Thanks to the generosity of Google and the Verizon Foundation, this professional development event was offered at no charge to attendees who received continuing-ed credits and a small stipend for their participation. 

Unlike other more static disciplines CS is constantly evolving.  “Overall, the biggest challenge for CS educators is keeping up with the dynamic, changing field of computer science,” said Morreale. Kean continues to incorporate emerging technologies, such as cloud computing, virtual reality, and cyber security, into their CS curriculum.  

The workshop’s participants collectively influence thousands of college-bound students annually.  CS4HS reflects Kean’s ongoing commitment to world-class teacher education.