is often much more extensive, and much more expensive, than
most school districts can cover on their own.
In the long term, districts will have to develop their own sustainable mechanisms for training CS teachers, whether that be via
train-the-trainer, Master Teacher, Professional Learning Communities, online PD, or some other model. The burden, however,
will be significantly lessened once Schools of Education begin
offering pre-service and Masters’ degree programs in CS education. This has already begun to happen in some universities, and
it is particularly encouraging that in some cases, pre-service CS
training is likely to soon be required of all teachers.
Continuing support will be a vital part of effective teacher
preparation. Though the fundamental concepts of computing
are stable, the technology, applications, and social implications
change rapidly. Both the Computer Science Teachers’ Association (CSTA) and the CSforAll Teachers Community of Practice
are positioning themselves to be providers for such a teacher
support network; however, research is still needed to determine
which strategies are most efficient, practical, and compelling.
The CSforAll movement has made strides in strengthening
the preK- 12 pipeline and creating a generation of college-ready
students with solid CS backgrounds. But as these students prepare for graduation, will colleges be ready for them?
HOW WILL COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES,
ALREADY STRESSED BY RECENT SURGES
IN CS COURSE ENROLLMENTS, COPE WITH
POTENTIALLY LARGER SURGES OF STUDENTS
ARRIVING BECAUSE OF CSFORALL?
Recently, CS departments across the country have seen a dramatic, and consistent, rise in student enrollment. The average number
of CS majors reported by departments in the Taulbee Survey has
tripled since 2006 and doubled since 2011 [ 9]. Even more striking
is that the number of non-majors taking representative courses
primarily intended for majors, has also increased at a rate equal to,
and sometimes greater than, that of CS majors (See Table 1) [ 6].
We can expect these numbers to grow dramatically as the
CSforAll generation starts arriving on campuses. These students will be diverse not only in gender, ethnicity, and disability, but also in their interests and academic needs. How
institutions react to this growth will be pivotal in creating true
diversity and equity in the field, and in establishing the increasingly interdisciplinary role of computation in our world
and on our campuses.
HOW DO WE PREPARE GREAT CS TEACHERS
AND DO IT IN WAYS THAT ARE SCALABLE AND
Most current preK- 12 teachers do not have formal training in
CS. To get CS established in all schools, we will need to prepare
an unprecedented number of teachers—there are over 3 million
elementary and secondary U.S. public schools [ 5]! Furthermore,
we will need to ensure that when the current wave of enthusiasm and targeted funding from both federal and private sources
subsides, schools and school districts are ready to continue the
work themselves. Preparation of in-service high school instructors to teach the ECS and CSP courses will be key to establishing a network of trained CS teachers.
For many, this is a tall order. The successful implementation of
these curricula requires that teachers not only have content knowledge in CS and programming skills, but also the ability to create
an inclusive classroom. This entails promoting the growth mindset
and exposing students to a wide range of computing applications
as well as hands-on, project- and inquiry-based, and differentiated
instruction. Collaborative projects in culturally relevant topic areas
of the students’ choosing are also key in the recruitment and retention of a diverse generation of computer scientists.
There are currently a number of PD projects that aim to provide such training. The National Science Foundation (NSF), for
example, has funded projects for both the ECS and CSP curricula (including endorsed CSP courses: Beauty and Joy of Computing, Mobile CSP, UTeachCS, and CSMatters). In addition,
private organizations such as Code.org, the National Math and
Science Initiative (NMSI), Project Lead the Way (PLTW), and
the Infosys Foundation USA have also developed PD resources
for their ECS and CSP curricula.
At the preK- 8 level, PD for these courses is accomplished
through one to two-day workshops where teachers learn how
to incorporate CS content into their regular classroom activities (Figure 3). Preparation of high school teachers, on the other
hand, involves one full week of face-to-face training and several
follow-up sessions over the course of the subsequent year. This
Table 1: Percent increase since 2006 for Majors and Non-Majors entering
computing courses at undergraduate institutions.
Representative Course Increase in Majors Increase in Non-majors
Intro to Major 152% 177%
Mid-Level 152% 251%
Upper-Level 165% 143%
Figure 3: Exploring Computer Science professional development
workshop held at Tuskegee University, AL.