An interdisciplinary group of researchers at Montclair State University is facing one of New Jersey’s educational challenges-the lack of computer science (CS) resources and professional development programs for school and K-12 teacher.
Associate Professor of Computer Science Katherine Herbert and College of Education and Human Services Acting Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Sumi Hagiwara administered more than $ 1.2 million in grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE ) to create support programs, resources, professional development programs and opportunities for teachers in Northern New Jersey to augment computer science offerings in elementary education.
Through one of two $ 333,330 NJDOE awards, the University will host the Montclair State University Computer Science for Everyone Everywhere Program – a series of workshops designed to help teachers and administrators apply New Jersey Computer Science and Design Thinking Standards – on campus starting July 12, 2022.
“These programs will help K-12 teachers meet the computer science standards outlined by Governor Murphy’s 2019 plan to expand computer science in New Jersey, with Montclair as a model for CS -led education and faculty education, ”Herbert said.“ We designed these programs to provide K teachers. -12 and a supported, collaborative environment to provide equity-oriented, inclusive computer science and education to all K-12 students in New Jersey. “
The second NJDOE award will allow the team to create the Montclair State University Computer Science Education Hub, which will serve as a resource center for northern New Jersey for professional computer science development for K-12 teachers, counselors and administrators. Beginning in September, the initiative will include a resource library and a “Curriculum Hack-a-Thon” in December to kick off Computer Science Education Week.
As part of NSF’s Research Responses and Experiences for Teachers programs, two collaborative grants (administered in partnership with NJIT, Rutgers and the University of West Virginia) will also provide resources to allow K-12 teachers who visit Montclair to work in on-campus research and teaching labs to create modules for their classes based on their individual research experiences. Both awards – NSF award numbers 2149750 and 2206885 total more than $ 660,000.
The grants come from Montclair’s launch of its online graduate certificate program at K-12 Computer Science Teaching in 2020, the first of its kind in New Jersey.
Designed for equity-oriented educators seeking to meet the need for high-quality computer science education, the 15-credit, five-course program offers an in-depth computer science course including coding, programming , problem solving through computational thinking, equity and diversity in the computer science field, and research -based methods of teaching computer science.
“The certificate program creates a pathway to prepare computer science teachers to provide high -quality computer science education,” Hagiwara said. “With delivery programs, Montclair is poised to become a leader for interdisciplinary research and best practices in computer science education in New Jersey.”
For more information on Montclair State University’s professional development activities related to providing computer science, register by visiting Montclair’s Computer Science K-12 Professional Development Interest Form.