Problem: We need teachers who can teach programming, and we don't have enough
The premise of this website is we can connect students to careers in computer science and in engineering. Further, that we can extend these to hands-on learners, a group that is sometimes left behind.
But to teach these materials, or any similar class, we must have teachers who can teach programming.
And we don't have enough.
Possible solution: Train our own
I do not believe a teacher with no background in programming can be turned into a highly skilled instructor for AP Computer Science in the short period of a semester college-level class. But we can prepare them with enough programming and class skills to facilitate student learning. Click here to see the syllabus we have poposed for such a class. Further, we can do it in about 10 hours of intense instruction, if we choose the material with care. Here, step by step, is how:
1. Have an appropriate classroom
In many ways an appropriate classroom for teaching a hands-on computer science and engineering class is similar to that for teaching a more traditional shop class. But the differences are such that with some care an ordinary classroom will serve.
The 3D printer and laser cutter are nice to have but not essential for a successful class. What is essential is the following:
- Soldering stations with either ventilation or fume extractors. Fume extractors are inexpensive and available from many sources.
- Adequate storage, both for materials and for student work-in-process.
- Tools. Fortunately, the tools required are common and inexpensive. Visit Setting Up A Classroom at www.learncse.com for details.
- Electrical outlets for power supplies for student laptops.
- Organization of and storage for electronic components. Even if student supplies are kitted before start of class, which is how the summer WaNIC class is conducted, students will still need access to replacement parts. We’ve found organizing parts by catalog number works well. See www.learncse.com/parts for an explanation and advantages of the parts catalog.