STEM

Cornell Tech Hosts Workshop for K-12 CS Strategy

Cornell Tech recently held a workshop to help local school districts and a cooperative educational service agency begin creating computer science education strategies.

Held August 8-9, the workshop is part of a two-year plan that aims for each district to integrate computer science throughout the school day.

"The event was an outgrowth of similar work Cornell Tech does with New York City schools in conjunction with the CSforAll Consortium, which works to enable all United States students in grades K-12 to achieve computer science literacy as an integral part of their education," according to a Cornell news release.

"The workshop was an opportunity to work with a region we have not reached before, and we were eager to share what we know about planning for CS that is rigorous, inclusive and sustainable, and to learn from the great group of district personnel who attended the workshop," said Leigh Ann DeLyser, chief academic officer at CSforAll, in a prepared statement.

Facilitated by CSforAll, the workshop offered an overview of computer science education, standards and resources and asked participants to create strategies for their individual districts with three- and six-month goals.

"They were great at explaining how kindergartners can understand algorithms," said Dan Breiman, principal at Belle Sherman Elementary, in a prepared statement. "An algorithm is what you do in a fire drill. An algorithm is what you do when you tie your shoes. It's a step-by-step sequence. One of the biggest things is making all this work accessible to my 5-year-olds to fifth graders — which it is."

The university and CSforAll will check in with the participating districts at the three- and six-month marks and three more workshops are planned, along with "office hours" with DeLyser to help the district stay on track and work out any kinks.

Cornell also "has tentative plans for the superintendents to go to New York City this fall to visit its new Roosevelt Island campus, attend its To Code and Beyond conference and tour schools that have successfully integrated a well-articulated curriculum in computer science, some in collaboration with Cornell Tech," according to a news release.

"Thoughtful work takes time," said Diane Levitt, senior director of K-12 education at Cornell Tech and convener of the workshop, in a statement. "What we don't want is to just check a box. What we want is to change teaching and learning. It's going to look different in every district. But everyone here is onboard."

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at jbolkan@gmail.com.

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