Montana Tech Hosts CS Professional Development

Montana Tech hosted two computer science professional development (PD) workshops for 24 Montana K-12 teachers. The workshop prepared middle school and high school teachers to offer computer science classes in their local schools. Two local teachers from Butte and Anaconda attended, as well as teachers from Eureka and Glasgow. The teachers were taught by professors from Montana Tech, University of Montana, Salish Kootenai College, and Montana State University.

The first PD covered the Joy and Beauty of Computing (JBC) curriculum, including the fundamentals of computational thinking, Python coding, and other current topics in computer science. The Joy and Beauty of Computing course is a dual enrollment course developed at MSU five years ago and has been a popular offering at various high schools around Montana. This was the fifth summer that JBC professional development has been offered, but the first time it was been held at Montana Tech. High school students enrolling in the JBC course have the option to also earn three college credit for CSCI 107 at a reduced tuition rate. Butte High School will be offering JBC for the first time this fall and next spring.

The second workshop covered the Mobile CSP curriculum, which prepares students to take the new Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science Principles exam. The Mobile CSP course is designed to engage students in building socially useful mobile apps in App Inventor. It is a project based course that covers both coding and many fundamental computer science topics. Mobile CSP has not yet been offered in Montana and this was the first professional development opportunity offered in Montana.

The PD workshops were funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) grant (CNS-1639841) “Growing Computer Science Curriculum, Diversity, and Teacher Preparedness across Montana” obtained by Lead-PI Yolanda Reimer (Univ. of Montana) and local PIs Jeff Braun (Montana Tech), Tim Olson (SKC), Lisa Blank (UM), and Hunter Lloyd (MSU). The primary goal of the grant is to broaden the CS curriculum in Montana’s high schools through a variety of initiatives.

More info is available at