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A Year Later: the Centrality of Teachers in Code.org

It has been a little over a year since Code.org released its viral video in the midst of a larger push for computer science education. The video used well-known celebrities to speak to the importance of computer science, but this initial video did not propose any solutions to make computing more accessible for students. I wondered and blogged about why teachers weren't more visible in this campaign to draw attention towards computing education (LINK).

What a difference a year makes.

This month at SIGCSE, Hadi Partovi delivered a powerful keynote in which he articulated Code.org's successful Hour of Code and their vision of district partnerships to increase access and diversity for computing. A common thread throughout his comments was the centrality of the role of teachers.

  • Teachers were credited for the unprecedented success of the "Hour of Code".
  • The importance of providing high-quality professional development experiences for teachers was highlighted. Hadi even carefully reframed a question about professional development that had initially used the language of "training teachers".
  • Code.org has created an educational team with vast K-12 teaching experience in diverse contexts to support curriculum development and professional development opportunities.
  • Code.org's explicit commitment to working with public schools provides curricular and instructional supports for classroom teaching in settings where students historically have had the fewest opportunities to pursue computing.

    In talking with K-12 teachers after this keynote, there was a huge buzz and a sense of empowerment for being recognized and affirmed for their important role in reforming computer science education. It was especially rewarding for teachers to be recognized while sitting alongside 1200+ fellow SIGCSE educators, most of who work in higher education and have little understanding about the nature of K-12 teaching.

    It was a great day to be a K-12 teacher at SIGCSE.

    Joanna Goode
    CSTA Teacher Education Representative

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