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Purdue sets up new program for teachers

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Purdue University has created a new program to help prepare teachers and improve the quality and availability of computer science curricula at the high school level.

Faculty from Purdue's Department of Computer Science and College of Education worked together to develop two new courses and create a computer science teaching supplemental licensure program for education majors.

The program is part of Purdue's National Science Foundation-funded Computer Science for the Education project that is part of a national initiative to expand by 2015 the number of high school educators who are qualified to teach computer science from 2,000-10,000.

"This project represents a first in terms of collaboration between education and computer science in the area of teacher licensing at Purdue," associate dean for discovery and faculty development in the College of Education and project team member James Lehman said. "The program helps strengthen the teaching of computer science for the 21st century. The additional area of certification also helps our students secure teaching positions in today's marketplace."

The first new one-credit course is titled "Contemporary Issues in Computing," which explores how computing affects everyone in society and what the implications are for the future. The second is a three-credit course titled "Methods of Teaching Computer Science," which explores effective techniques for teaching computational thinking and presents the latest research on how to teach computing concepts and programming skills.

In addition to the two new courses, secondary education students take four computer science courses in programming, discrete mathematics and data structures and algorithms to fulfill the program requirements.

Christoph Hoffmann, a professor of computer science and current leader of the Computer Sciense for Education project team, said creating strong programs in computing and computational thinking at the high school level will build an important foundation for future generations to successfully compete in the global economy.

"One way to reverse the declining college enrollment in computer science is by improving the quality and availability of an advanced computer science curriculum at the high school level," he said. "In a flat world, the well-being of the nation will depend on computer savvy and scientific literacy."

In addition to Hoffman and Lehman, project participants include Susanne Hambrusch, Tim Korb and Voicu Popescu from the Department of Computer Science and Aman Yadav from the College of Education.

More details about the curriculum are available at http://cs4edu.cs.purdue.edu/endorsment.

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