A look inside the CS Summer Institute 2018: Photo Blog

From August 6 to 17, 2018, more than 300 NYC public school teachers gathered in three locations across the city for CS4All’s Computer Science (CS) Institute. The CS Institute provided an in-depth opportunity for educators to learn about CS concepts and practices, and how to infuse them into their classrooms and curriculum. These two weeks of professional development prepared teachers for a school year of learning about CS.

The photos below offer a glance into some of the sessions at the 2018 CS Institute. All of the curricula and resources shared at the Institute are available to teachers and the public on the CS4All Blueprint website.

Thursday, August 9th

Creative Computing

Teachers met in the morning for training on SEPjr - a CS program for K-5 students that balances rigorous, direct instruction with open-ended creative computing. The teachers learned about game design using a coding program called Scratch Jr.

The teachers also engaged with Zip-Zap-Zop, a movement game using CS principles including sequences, pattern recognition, and conditional events. The game is an interactive way to presents these computational thinking elements in an innovative way — plus, it restores energy after intense desk work!

During  lunch, teachers listened to keynote guest speaker Karen Brennan, a professor at Harvard University. Karen was part of the team at MIT that created Scratch, and has worked on the program for 11 years. In addition to her academic work, she also helps cultivate ScratchEd meetups for educators across the country.

The best learning experience for kids starts with the best learning experience for teachers.
— Karen Brennan, Harvard University

In her warm, engaging, and funny style, Karen offered educators advice on how to develop classroom cultures that support learning, how to access resources, and how to  manage challenges.

The afternoon session focused on physical computing, and  teachers created watches out of colorful duct tape and a micro:bit. They programmed the watch through the macro:bit website so that it could count steps, activate a timer, and show a heartbeat, among other functions.

Microbit watch B 8.9.18.jpg
Microbit watch A 8.9.18.jpg

Monday, August 13th

CS Courses

During the two weeks of the Institute, middle and high school teachers also received training on Introductory and Advanced Placement Computer Science Principle courses. Two of these courses were DOE-developed: Intro to Physical Computing and Intro to Computational Media.

Teachers spent the first week on course lessons and labs from the curriculum developers, gaining comfort with at least one semester’s worth of content. The second week consisted of Teacher-Learner-Observer sessions. These classroom simulations allow  teachers to practice giving a lesson to fellow teachers who act as students, and then receive feedback from them.

The sessions were great opportunities for teachers to increase their understanding of the lessons, and learn alongside more experienced teachers.

Wednesday, August 15th

CS Units Training

Elementary and middle school teachers received training on new DOE-created CS units. These units draw from highest-quality creative computing content, including Scratch, Software Engineering Program (SEP), and Exploring CS curricula. During these sessions, teachers worked collaboratively and gave each other direct feedback so they could iterate upon and improve their CS projects. School administrators also attended PD sessions to enhance their understanding of CS so they can better support their teachers who will continue to attend CS4All PD during the school year.


Friday, August 17

Final Day

A panel of tech industry representatives engaged in a dynamic conversation about equity in CS. Panelists Regine Gilbert, Quiessence Phillips, Dara Sanderson, and Ron Summers discussed ways to expand diversity in tech careers.

I am frequently conveying information between engineers and non-scientists. My ability to communicate what others do not understand is what helps me to succeed.
— Dara Sanderson, Marvel Entertainment
We need to be WOQE. Watch, observe, question and explore. Solve problems.
— Regine Gilbert, UX Design Consultant

Finally, the teachers shared their CS implementation plans for the coming school year, and received feedback from fellow educators. The teachers described CS Units with themes ranging from the water cycle and other science topics, to a math board game using fractions, to ways to learn about animals using coding.

Phil Weinberg, the Deputy Chief Academic Officer for Teaching and Learning, spoke to teachers on Friday afternoon and emphasized the DOE’s goal to create a more equitable school system. He also expressed his gratitude to the participating teachers and their commitment to improving opportunities for students.

The Fund is equally grateful for our engaged and dedicated teachers, and for the #CSforAllNYC program partners that help make this essential training possible!

Matt Darian