Illinois State University (ISU) Initiates Teacher Education in Computer Science (TECS)

Illinois State University (ISU) proposes a project -- Teacher Education in Computer Science (TECS) -- which will create an innovative structure for preparing in-service and future high school teachers to teach Computer Science (CS). Although the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has established standards for a CS Endorsement, currently there are no CS Teacher Education programs in the state. This project will create a state-approved program of study at ISU so that upon its completion, teaches will be well-positioned to pass the certification exam for the CS Endorsement. The TECS curriculum will mesh with existing ISU Mathematics and Technology teacher education major requirements, so that student teachers and in-service teachers in those fields can efficiently obtain the CS endorsement, making TECS graduates highly employable. The TECS program will recruit in-service math and technology teachers from school districts in 50-mile radius of ISU, as well as ISU students from Mathematics Teacher Education (MTE) and Technology & Engineering Education (T&EE). The TECS curriculum will be created by an interdisciplinary team of ISU faculty, out of existing courses from CS, Mathematics, and Technology, with advice from the NSF-funded "Taste of Computing" team in Chicago. UCLA's Gail Chapman will provide a design for a new CS teaching methods course to be added to existing courses, to be piloted in cooperation with the Taste of Computing institutions. Faculty and student learning communities will be formed to foster an academic, social, and cultural environment to successfully implement the TECS program. The project will utilize advanced CS majors for peer-tutoring and mentoring TECS students. Scholarships will be provided as needed for pre-service and in-service teachers in TECS. Especially for in-service teachers, TECS will offer evening, summer, or online classes. Continual multi-faceted evaluation of learning outcomes and program operation will include competency-based tests and attitude measures for TECS participants, and feedback forms for participating faculty, peer-tutors and mentors, professionals, and student teaching supervisors. The project will host statewide annual summits for relevant educators, industry representatives, and state officials to raise awareness and promote quality CS education in Illinois schools. The ISU administration, MTE and T&EE Directors, and district administrators of surrounding school districts (like Bloomington, Dunlap, and Peoria) and Chicago Public Schools are highly supportive of the TECS program.

Project Website: N/A

Principal Investigator(s): Anu Gokhale, Illinois State University and Kenton Machina, Illinois State University

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