Teachers go back to school to learn computer coding - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Teachers go back to school to learn computer coding

Posted: Updated:

Computer science is one of the fastest growing industries in the nation. The same goes for here in Alabama.

In fact, computer science and coding is being offered as a high school math credit, that goes toward graduation.

We already knew that though. Focus at Four brought you this story in April. At the time, ten high schools in Alabama offered two computer science courses.

Next year, 25 additional schools will sign on.  That means, more teachers are needed to instruct students in computer science. A new grant makes it possible to train fifty teachers from Alabama. And, hundreds more online.

The idea is to prepare teachers on how to instruct a computer science course. Which in turn, gets students college and career ready.

"We feel that students need to know in the modern economy and in the modern world need to know how to dissect the internet or understand how an app works, as they need to know how to dissect a frog," says Dr. Jeff Gray, professor of computer science at the University of Alabama.

Gray has been instrumental in developing computer coding as a high school course. 

"The demand has been high as far as job offers in computer science. So the economy and the demand from graduates in this area is what's feeding some of this," says Gray. 

This summer, high school teachers from across the state will come to the University of Alabama to learn how to instruct computer coding.

Many of the teachers in this classroom have limited to no training in computer science. 

"A lot of teachers are coming from math backgrounds and science backgrounds, and they have the necessary skills, but they don't have the overall content knowledge."

However, this week of instruction aims to change that. 

Gray says, "Part of it is continuing their content knowledge. They're learning about what's called the 'seven big ideas' of this course. They're also learning about how the college board is expecting them to prepare their students."


The university is also offering a free, online course: called a massive open online course, or MOOC.

The program is being offered to more than 900 teachers nationwide through Google. 

"We need to elevate, escalate and make computer science more of a first class citizen in our education offerings to our students," says Gray.

The advanced placement computer science course is offered to high school students as a math credit toward graduation. It is aimed at increasing secondary and post-secondary education interest in computer science.
Getting students college and career ready. 

Jill Westerlund, who currently teaches computer science at Hoover High School says, "Every student has that opportunity, They are better prepared to go to college. They're better prepared for a career. They're better prepared to get an industry credential in these fields. So I think they aren't wasting their time and the teacher isn't wasting their time either."

Westerlund says teachers who are taking on computer science for the the first time, should expect the unexpected. 

"We're all building a plane, as we fly the plane. We're all in this together."

Carol Yarbrough teaches computer science at the Alabama School of Fine Arts. Yarbrough's experience has taught her, the course is ever changing

"The biggest challenge with learning and teaching this is, it's a moving target. It changes so much. Two months later you're teaching something that's outdated. Something you taught is outdated and there's something brand new. So, as a teacher it's important to keep up with what's going on," says Yarbrough.

Jeff Gray encourages teachers with an adventurous spirit to become part of this new educational frontier. 

"We call these teachers our pioneers. They really are pioneers within the state of Alabama, offering this to students in localities that have never had any form of computer science."

  • Central Alabama NewsMore>>

  • Fire danger rises for Labor Day weekend

    Fire danger rises for Labor Day weekend

    Friday, August 29 2014 11:59 PM EDT2014-08-30 03:59:40 GMT
    Our recent dry weather has created the perfect conditions for fire danger. More >>
    Our recent dry weather has created the perfect conditions for fire danger. More >>
  • Talladega parents allege school employee wrote racist Facebook posts

    Talladega parents allege school employee wrote racist Facebook posts

    Friday, August 29 2014 7:32 PM EDT2014-08-29 23:32:28 GMT
    Several parents and community members in Talladega are upset Friday over allegations of racial comments made from a school employee's Facebook page.More >>
    Several parents and community members in Talladega are upset Friday over allegations of racial comments made from a school employee's Facebook page.More >>
  • Hackleburg High School preps for first home game in three years

    Friday, August 29 2014 4:57 PM EDT2014-08-29 20:57:25 GMT
    Tonight is a homecoming three years in the making for Hackleburg High School. The team takes the field tonight in their new stadium, finally completed after an E-F five tornado destroyed it on April 27, 2011.It is sure to be a packed house at Ray Stadium as the Hackleburg panthers take on Marion County, tonight at 7:00 p.m. This is going to be an emotional night, not only for the school, but for the community as well. "This is going to be an emotional game, an emotional crowd. This field ho...More >>
    Tonight is a homecoming three years in the making for Hackleburg High School. The team takes the field tonight in their new stadium, finally completed after an E-F five tornado destroyed it on April 27, 2011.It is sure to be a packed house at Ray Stadium as the Hackleburg panthers take on Marion County, tonight at 7:00 p.m. This is going to be an emotional night, not only for the school, but for the community as well. "This is going to be an emotional game, an emotional crowd. This field ho...More >>
  • Birmingham Area NewsMore>>

  • Rescue workers digging to save man buried in a hole (update)

    Rescue workers digging to save man buried in a hole (update)

    Saturday, August 30 2014 7:12 PM EDT2014-08-30 23:12:21 GMT
    Birmingham Fire and Rescue units are on the scene of an accident where a man has been buried in a hole.More >>
    Birmingham Fire and Rescue units are on the scene of an accident where a man has been buried in a hole.More >>
  • City Council to get update on education in Birmingham

    City Council to get update on education in Birmingham

    Friday, August 29 2014 8:55 PM EDT2014-08-30 00:55:45 GMT
    The Birmingham City Council is hosting a lunch meeting with the Birmingham Board of Education to discuss the current state and direction of the Birmingham City Schools. The meeting will be held Tuesday, September 2, 2014 from 12:45 p.m. to 2 p.m. at Regions Bank in the Executive Dining Room."We want to make sure that as a council we are engaged in all aspects of development for our city," Council President Jonathan Austin said. "It is very important that are continually updated on areas such ...More >>
    The Birmingham City Council is hosting a lunch meeting with the Birmingham Board of Education to discuss the current state and direction of the Birmingham City Schools. The meeting will be held Tuesday, September 2, 2014 from 12:45 p.m. to 2 p.m. at Regions Bank in the Executive Dining Room."We want to make sure that as a council we are engaged in all aspects of development for our city," Council President Jonathan Austin said. "It is very important that are continually updated on areas such ...More >>
  • Exclusive: Birmingham beats out Miami for DOT conference

    Exclusive: Birmingham beats out Miami for DOT conference

    Friday, August 29 2014 6:34 PM EDT2014-08-29 22:34:48 GMT
    ABC 33/40 has learned that the City of Birmingham beat out Miami for a DOT conference. A date for the conference has yet to be scheduled but hosting such an event gives the city an opportunity to solicit federal funding for transportation projects throughout the metro. Count on us to pass along any new information as soon as we get it.More >>
    ABC 33/40 has learned that the City of Birmingham beat out Miami for a DOT conference. A date for the conference has yet to be scheduled but hosting such an event gives the city an opportunity to solicit federal funding for transportation projects throughout the metro. Count on us to pass along any new information as soon as we get it.More >>
  • Anniston - Gadsden Area NewsMore>>

  • Arrest made in large level extortion scheme

    Arrest made in large level extortion scheme

    Friday, August 29 2014 12:45 PM EDT2014-08-29 16:45:16 GMT
    "Everett Leon Stout, 72 and Miriam Clair Schultz, 67 are charged with 14 counts of extortion.More >>
    "Everett Leon Stout, 72 and Miriam Clair Schultz, 67 are charged with 14 counts of extortion.More >>
  • Gadsden police recover more than 300 stolen items; felony charges against suspected fence

    Gadsden police recover more than 300 stolen items; felony charges against suspected fence

    Thursday, August 28 2014 11:22 PM EDT2014-08-29 03:22:34 GMT
    Joe Walker Pearl (Photo: Etowah County Sheriff's Office)Joe Walker Pearl (Photo: Etowah County Sheriff's Office)
    Police in Gadsden are trying to return hundreds of stolen items to their rightful owners. Captain Paul Cody said officers bust a large fencing operation this week. Joe Pearl, 75, is the suspect in the case. It took a long time to sort through and document a very wide range of stolen property. "We've collected a lot of stuff," Cody said. "Toilet paper. We have non-firearms related weapons, we have karaoke machines, musical instruments, car stereos, underwear."More >>
    Police in Gadsden are trying to return hundreds of stolen items to their rightful owners. Captain Paul Cody said officers bust a large fencing operation this week. Joe Pearl, 75, is the suspect in the case. It took a long time to sort through and document a very wide range of stolen property. "We've collected a lot of stuff," Cody said. "Toilet paper. We have non-firearms related weapons, we have karaoke machines, musical instruments, car stereos, underwear."More >>
  • Gadsden police arrest suspect in deadly stabbing case

    Gadsden police arrest suspect in deadly stabbing case

    Thursday, August 28 2014 11:37 AM EDT2014-08-28 15:37:31 GMT
    William D'Angelo McKinney (Photo: Etowah County Sheriff's Office)William D'Angelo McKinney (Photo: Etowah County Sheriff's Office)
    Investigators in Gadsden said a man strangled his ex-girlfriend Tuesday evening before stabbing another man to death. Officers arrested 30-year-old William D'Angelo McKinney Wednesday night. He faces charges for murder and domestic violence with strangulation. Police said McKinney went to his ex-girlfriend's home in the Mill Village area and let himself in. Investigators said she asked him to leave, but he shoved her and then put her in a headlock until she blacked out.More >>
    Investigators in Gadsden said a man strangled his ex-girlfriend Tuesday evening before stabbing another man to death. Officers arrested 30-year-old William D'Angelo McKinney Wednesday night. He faces charges for murder and domestic violence with strangulation. Police said McKinney went to his ex-girlfriend's home in the Mill Village area and let himself in. Investigators said she asked him to leave, but he shoved her and then put her in a headlock until she blacked out.More >>
Most Popular
Stories
Videos
loading...