Microsoft Grant Covers CS Training for Miami-Dade Teachers

Microsoft has awarded $125,000 to a computer science training program for Miami-Dade educators in Florida. Miami EdTech's new EdXpert provides CS professional learning opportunities to public school teachers, particularly those working in Title One schools and those reporting low professional development scores.

This train-the-trainer program is intended to develop capacity for teachers to deliver CS and technology-enabled lessons in their classrooms while also making CS education more inclusive and boosting the number and diversity of CS-savvy teachers.

The training consists of a half-day in-person workshop and ongoing support through the school year via online tutorials, webinars, one-on-one coaching and advanced workshops.

Topics will cover SAMR, a popular framework for categorizing the extent to which technology is integrated into the classroom; development of skills for using tech in a way that meets learning goals; and computational thinking, a problem-solving process. Those teachers who participate in a "fundamentals" workshop will receive a stipend of up to $250.

"Over the past year, through our Accelerator and Social Innovation & Entrepreneurial Leadership Incubator, we have been fortunate to work with over 50 Miami-based educators, representing some 15,000 students," said Carlos Vazquez, president and CEO of Miami EdTech, in a statement. He added that the Microsoft support will enable the organization "to empower and reach far more educators; helping to close the digital skills gap present among Miami-Dade youth, and, ultimately, provide them with the tools required for 21st century success."

Miami EdTech is working with Florida International University's School of Computing & Information Sciences on the initiative. "This is a great opportunity for STEM teachers to learn how to integrate entrepreneurial and computational principles into their lesson plans, and possibly in a next grant for pre-service teachers, too," said Mario Eraso, the STEM outreach coordinator for the school.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.