After a rigorous evaluation, the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) has added CoderZ to its online list of professional learning programs. The list enables K-12 computer science (CS) teachers to find quality professional development opportunities and associated curriculum that fit their needs and goals.
An independent committee of experts evaluated the CoderZ professional development programs using a detailed rubric aligned to quality indicators such as the following:
- Content Focus
- Active Learning
- Models and Modeling
- Feedback and Reflection
- Scale and Sustainability
- Ongoing Support
- Sustained Duration
The CoderZ professional development program introduces instructors to the concepts of teaching computer science and computational thinking using an online tool. Participants learn robotics and coding best practices as well as strategies to successfully leverage a graphic programming interface. In addition, the program hones the skills needed to reinforce student engagement, application, exploration and use of communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity.
The professional development program is strongly aligned to CSTA programming standards and gives teachers opportunities to connect to Common Core Math, NGSS, and additional CSTA standards. Teachers receive a hands-on learning experience with guided practice. Afterward, they receive ongoing support through a facilitated Facebook community, weekly virtual office hours and email and phone support to process inquiries.
“We customize our professional development to meet educators’ needs,” said Ido Yerushalmi, CEO of CoderZ. “So, as participants learn how to develop and deliver STEM or CS instruction, our program can also help them integrate that new knowledge with their use of approaches such as differentiated and adaptive instruction.”
The CoderZ professional development program has received a lot of positive feedback from teachers who have taken it. One example is Todd Leff, a CS and technology teacher who has been teaching programming at Kingsview Middle School in Maryland. Another is Monica Maldonado, the director of technology for the Diocese of Corpus Christi in Texas.
“I signed up for the training because I wanted to know the ins and outs of CoderZ before I used it with my students,” said Leff. “My experience with CoderZ professional development was very positive. It provided the familiarity I needed to gather valuable data about student performance and helped me to better support my students when they are challenged.”
The schools in the Diocese of Corpus Christi had already implemented computer science instruction prior to the CoderZ training. However, they were adding instruction through CoderZ to their STEM learning initiative. “The professional development was designed to provide training to our fourth and fifth grade teachers with small chunks of content and at a pace that would build teacher confidence over time and encourage successes,” said Maldonado.
Maldonado praised the supportive experience that the CoderZ’s professional development team had provided to the diocese’s schoolteachers. “We would definitely recommend CoderZ’s professional development to other teachers because they will adapt their learning approaches to fit your district or diocese to ensure a successful rollout,” she said.