Monday, April 9, 2012

SBU CIS Selected by Google to Receive Grant for Summer Workshop

Southwest Baptist University News Release
Contact: Sharina Smith, Office of Marketing & Communications
417-328-1803 /

BOLIVAR, Mo. – Southwest Baptist University’s Department of Computer and Information Sciences (CIS) recently announced their selection by Google to receive a grant to underwrite a summer 2012 workshop for K-12 teachers. The grant was approved under Google’s CS4HS (Computer Science for High School) program. The focus of the two-day workshop is to help the teachers begin to incorporate computational thinking into classroom activities. 

Teachers attending the workshop will have two tracks from which to choose. One track will focus on the general application of computational thinking to all academic disciplines. To that end, teachers of any academic area in middle or high school are invited to attend. The second track will be designed for teachers of APCS (Advanced Placement Computer Science) and will address issues specifically related to APCS. 

CS4HS is an initiative sponsored by Google to promote computer science and computational thinking in high school and middle school curriculum. The workshops developed under the grant incorporate informational talks by industry leaders, and discussions on new and emerging computer science curricula at the high school and middle school level. Approximately 70 universities world-wide were awarded grants by Google and held workshops in 2011.

According to Helene Martin, a high school computer science and CS4HS teacher for Carnegie Mellon University, “if we reach the teachers, then we have this wider-reaching effect. Because as teachers, we ultimately have a lot of impact on what our students do. If we can teach a class that's engaging and brings in elements that students are intrigued about, they're likely to study it in college. If we can get this group of people excited about computer science themselves, we figure that they can go on and do a little more research, bring in guest speakers, integrate it into their own curriculum, and that's how we get the next generation of computer scientists.”

SBU’s grant proposal pointed out the following:

Missouri does not certify computer science as a teaching area; therefore the vast majority of Missouri K12 students never receive even an introduction to computer science. 

There is currently no functioning CSTA (Computer Science Teachers Association) chapter in Missouri and there is only a small community of Missouri teachers who participate in the APCS program, especially in Southwest Missouri.

According to AP Central, there are no professional development opportunities for teachers of APCS in the entire state of Missouri between March 3 of 2012 and March 3 of 2013.

There are no other universities in Southwest Missouri reaching out via Google’s programs to support teaching of K12 computer science.

SBU’s workshop will be held July 13-14 in the Gene Taylor Free Enterprise Center on Southwest Baptist University’s Bolivar Campus. The event will be free and teachers will be provided a stipend to attend.  Teachers may receive one hour of graduate credit for completion of the instructional workshop. 

Registration details for the workshop will appear on SBU’s website in the near future.


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SBU’s Office of Marketing and Communications is available to news media 24 hours a day at (417) 399-7918.