Blueprint Educator Engagement

Blueprint Educator Engagement

The blueprint is intended to support teachers, schools, professional development providers and partners in planning computer science (CS) instruction. Since our primary end-users are NYC educators, we have run over 45 hours of workshops and co-design sessions with teachers, principals, and assistant principals to better understand their needs.

Through this work we learned:

  1. Educators want a toolbox for CS, not a one-size-fits-all solution.
  2. If we want to reach all NYC schools, the focus of the blueprint should be on how to integrate CS into other subject areas.

CS4All Launch Workhop

Support for Implementation

Through activities that encourage invention, exploration and knowledge sharing, educators were able to drill down on their implementation needs. Teachers stressed the importance of having time and space to experiment, and resources to support ongoing, asynchronous learning.

The educators also wanted emerging best practices in CS pedagogy, and recommended we observe classrooms with diverse student demographics, to identify these practices.

Teachers suggested using existing frameworks like Depth of Knowledge and Bloom’s Taxonomy, and aligning the blueprint with existing standards (like Common Core) to support usability.

Academic Frameworks

Building on the discussion about current teacher frameworks, we explored the five concepts and seven practices currently in the K-12 Computer Science Framework (a collaborative national effort). We are seeking to align our work with the K-12 Computer Science Framework, while ensuring concepts and practices are accessible to all teachers.

Numerous sorting and prioritizing activities around the concepts and practices highlighted the need for us to condense the scope of academic concepts while providing multiple pathways for educators to engage with the content.

CS4All Launch Workhop

Journey Maps

In one co-design session with teachers, we created journey maps and user personas to guide the design of blueprint tools. We learned how teachers might approach CS, which helped us construct arguments and projected impacts of CS education.

We explored these themes in greater depth with the Hive Research Lab community which we’ll detail in another post.

The journey mapping highlighted the unique challenge we face: NYC school educators see their classrooms as being exceptional and sometimes struggle to see how successes in other classrooms with different student populations might be relevant and transferable to their own.

Admin Needs

We also explored different visions for CS in our workshops with school leaders, including:

  • Levels of buy-in
  • Strategies for reaching all learners
  • Parent involvement
  • Assessments and priorities which often varied by grade level and other school-based factors

Administrators universally expressed interest in receiving practical knowledge to support the roll-out of CS in their schools.

When we dug further into administrator needs, we came up with a series of steps to help admins form a strategic plan. We looked at needs such as administrator content knowledge, teacher recruitment, assessment, and observations.

What’s Next?

From implementation needs and academic frameworks, to journey maps, we took ideas from teachers forward into the co-construction of a working draft of our blueprint.

We are designing an academic framework using Depth of Knowledge as a key underpinning, and have pivoted to ask teachers to draft example units to support integration into other subject areas.

Building on administrator needs, we are developing a tools section around implementation. We also launched a peer observation project in which we are working with educators to find emerging best practices in CS pedagogy through a grant from 100kin10.

As we continue to build, test and iterate, we’re hoping to learn more from educators and get feedback about:

  1. How to reach the “goldilocks state” of the concepts and practices — the right mix of complexity, simplicity, and rigor.
  2. How the full set of tools complement each other and what we still need to build.

Through the blueprint process, we’re putting teachers in the driver’s seat and ultimately creating prototypes of tools to support educators in rolling out CS education.

If you are interested in learning more about our process or getting involved, feel free to contact us at cs4all AT strongschools DOT nyc.


About the author


Allyson Gill is the Community Manager for NYC CS4All.

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