Members of the WeTeach_CS and UT Center for STEM Education staff will be traveling to Baltimore, MD for SIGCE 2018, being held from February 21-24. They’ll be taking part in multiple presentations in front of this national gathering of CS education professionals, so be sure to check the conference schedule and come show your support for WeTeach_CS!
The SIGCSE Technical Symposium is the largest computing education conference worldwide organized by ACM SIGCSE. It attracts around 1,300 researchers, educators, and others interested in improving computing education in K-12 and higher education. More information
Thursday, February 22nd
10:45AM – 12:00PM
Panel Discussion – Why Diversity is Important to the Health of the Technology Industry, and What We Can Do to Ensure its Success
Moderator – Lorilyn Owens, Director, Worldwide Member Engagement and Services Oracle Academy
- Carol Fletcher, University of Texas at Austin
- Helen Hu, Westminster College, Salt Lake City Utah
- Thamina Christensen, Group Product Manager, Oracle Corporation
- Maya Garcia, Director STEM, DC Office of State Superintendent of Education
- Melissa Risteff, CEO Couragion
Diversity is important to the overall health of the technology industry. Diversity elevates innovation as individuals from different backgrounds bring varied perspectives to their teams. To create a diverse workforce, we need to encourage more girls and minority students to participate in computer science classes starting in K-12 and continuing through higher education. This panel will focus on the need for student diversity in computer science education. It will discuss in what ways we can prepare teachers to encourage girls and minority students to pursue careers in technology. Panelists will also look at how girls approach CS coursework differently than boys. Finally, we will look at how a diverse team of technologists affects the software creation process, and why the development process is better with diversity.
6:30PM – 7:20PM
K-12 CS Teacher Certification: What Should New CS Teachers Know and Be Able to Do?
- Carol Fletcher (The University of Texas at Austin, Center for STEM Education)
- Pat Yongpradit (code.org)
- David Benedetto (NH Department of Education)
- John Owen (The University of Texas at Austin, Center for STEM Education)
Currently, 27 states and the District of Columbia have some form of teacher certification in computer science. This includes a variety of pathways such as endorsement, certification, licensure or other authorization that explicitly names CS. Many of these states, as well as those that have no CS teacher certification, are in the process of reviewing certification standards and pathways with the goal of increasing the number and quality of K-12 CS instructors and thus, access to high quality CS coursework in K-12. The Praxis exam is one of the few nationally recognized measures of CS teacher content knowledge but the current exam is out of date. A group of state leaders have been working with ETS to update the competencies measured by the Praxis. The objective of this BOF is to bring together stakeholders interested in contributing to the conversation around what a beginning CS teacher should know and be able to do to in CS, provide an overview of what has happened thus far to address these questions, share the recently revised Praxis draft framework, and give individuals an opportunity to provide input on the development of a national consensus related to new K-12 CS teacher competencies.
Saturday, February 24th
Poster Session #3 – 10:00AM – 12:00PM
Growing the High School CS Teacher Workforce: Predictors of Success in Achieving CS Certification
- Jayce Warner (University of Texas at Austin, Center for STEM Education)
- Carol Fletcher (University of Texas at Austin, Center for STEM Education)
- Wesley Monroe (University of Texas at Austin, Center for STEM Education)
- Lisa Garbrecht (University of Texas at Austin, Center for STEM Education)
With the goal of better understanding how to increase the computer science (CS) teacher workforce, this study examines the factors that predict eventual success in achieving teacher certification in CS. Participants (N = 500) were teachers who were certified in other subject areas and who expressed an interest in becoming certified to teach computer science in Texas. Results showed that participants were more likely to become certified in CS if they already held a certification in another STEM field or if they had some prior knowledge in CS. Teacher participation in an online professional development course predicted certification success after controlling for prior CS knowledge and other factors whereas participation in face-to-face professional development did not. These findings have implications for policy makers and professional development providers who make investments of time and money to grow CS teacher capacity and increase student access to computer science education at the high school level.