About ITEST SPARCS
SPARCS aims to help participants incorporate CS lessons into the classes they teach, and inspire their students to consider careers in computing-related industries. It is funded by the National Science foundation (NSF) Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) program.
We are seeking middle and high school teachers to participate in the summer 2019 program. Teachers from all disciplines (science, technology, engineering, mathematics, language arts, social studies, etc.) are welcome! Prior experience with programming is not required.
This year, SPARCS will be conducted as a series of short independent workshops, distilling the best practices gleaned from our experience running SPARCS for the past 4 years.
Schedule for 2019The summer 2019 workshops are as follows:
|Problem Solving Workshop||
|App Lab Workshop||
|Master Teacher Workshop||
* Workshop times are 9:00am to 5:00pm. All activities will be at UNO's Peter Kiewit Institute (PKI) building.
Participating teachers will receive stipends of $100/day. Participants may sign up for multiple workshops. Lunch will be provided.
Additional compensation of $500 will be awarded in December 2019 if teachers present proof of SPARCS-based lesson used in class in Fall 2019.
Please fill out the application form. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis starting May 20, 2019.
Applications for a given workshop will close one week before the scheduled session. A session may be canceled if there are fewer than 5 participants signed up one week before the session.
Questions? Email Harvey Siy at email@example.com.
BackgroundTo keep pace with today's computer and technology-driven workforce, strategies that foster student investment in Computer Science (CS) education are sorely needed. SPARCS is a NSF-supported project that targets this need. SPARCS is a collaborative effort between University of Nebraska at Omaha faculty in Computer Science and Teacher Education Departments, and industry partners from major Omaha area businesses. It is aimed at significantly increasing the number of middle school students in the metropolitan Omaha area and the State of Nebraska who have access to Computer Science education opportunities and ultimately enhanced interdisciplinary career pathways in computing.
CS careers are among the fastest growing job sectors today. The realization that there will be a million more computing-related jobs than graduates by 2020 has led to many initiatives for promoting CS education. SPARCS builds on the momentum of initiatives such as National CS Education Week and Hour of Code by giving middle school students continuing exposure to computing concepts throughout the school year in a way that authentically connects to existing age-appropriate learning objectives and students' personal interests. Lesson modules will teach students how to use computational thinking to investigate problems that matter to them. This empowers students to dive deeper into computing by providing them with strategic, stimulating, and integrated CS experiences, and sparking their curiosity in computing-enabled career trajectories. Middle school is arguably the most critical period in influencing students educational pathways and career choices. Unfortunately, current middle school curricula are desperately lacking in CS instruction and exposure.
SPARCS tackles this challenge by developing and supporting a cohort of middle school teachers trained in the basic principles and practices of computer science, and helping them to infuse computational thinking into middle schoolers' latent creativity and capacity for problem solving. The project team will achieve this goal by adopting a new teaching and learning model that consists of (1) a Problem-Based Learning (PBL) approach that cultivates creative, inquiry-driven thinking, and (2) a Personalized Implementation Portfolio (PIP) strategy that collaboratively enables teachers to integrate customizable CS lesson modules into their school's existing STEM curricula. The PBL lessons will draw upon computing-related problems from the teachers' areas of discipline and from business and industrial partners.
- Harvey Siy (primary contact), firstname.lastname@example.org
- Brian Dorn, email@example.com
- Neal Grandgenett, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Jong-Hoon Youn, email@example.com
- Qiuming Zhu, firstname.lastname@example.org
This project is supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number DRL-1433788.