Computer Science can be a challenging subject to teach. When you add teacher shortages and burnout, this challenge becomes magnified. In many cases, teachers are being pulled from other subject areas to teach Computer Science without any additional support from co-teachers or TAs. This is due to the fact that one of the biggest reasons more Computer Science classes aren't offered is because there aren't enough teachers to teach it. We know that technology is the language of business. So how can we meet the growing demand for jobs in technology if Computer Science degree enrollment is limited by the number of teachers available? The need to streamline teaching Computer Science is now more important than ever.
Using feedback from teachers and districts we partner with, we have outlined below how we have been able to help new teachers get started teaching Computer Science. Whether the class is online or in person, Coding Rooms helps equip teachers with the necessary tools to simplify teaching Computer Science.
Our most precious resource is time. This is even more so the case for new teachers. Imagine if you had Computer Science content readily available to use as is or to modify to your liking? Having the flexibility to take what you like from a pre-built course and add additional outside resources would certainly be a time saver. Additionally, having access to a collaborative space where educators around the world can share out additional content would also be beneficial to getting started. With the amount of open educational resources available, why not take advantage of a marketplace of content that your colleagues in education have already created? This eliminates the need to search for and vet quality Computer Science resources to use in your course. Having these resources at your fingertips, would help veteran teachers be more efficient and would help new teachers get started with ready to use pre-built content.
Another way to help increase efficiency and simplify teaching Computer Science would be to simplify grading assignments. When assignments are autograded, this frees up time for you to work with students in more meaningful ways. Autograding helps provide immediate feedback on why a student has not correctly completed an assignment. This insight allows students to work through the challenges on their own and continue working through the course material. Students are given the necessary feedback to troubleshoot their work on their own before requesting additional assistance from their teacher, again freeing up time.
One concern all teachers have is whether students are producing their own work. It is important to utilize a platform that allows you to check for plagiarism. By being able to play back a student’s code, you could determine the path the student took to build the solution. Did they copy and paste the code or work out the problem on their own? Only in a real-time environment are you able to see students work through a solution and determine true academic integrity.
Students who are not engaged or who are struggling with Computer Science content contribute to a teacher’s workload and overwhelm new teachers. Whether your class is in person or online, a live platform environment provides you with many opportunities to interact with students either individually or collectively, and in real time. You can liken this type of environment to Google Docs which allows for a real time collaborative workspace. You will be able to view each student's code in real time and provide immediate feedback. You can also view the progress of all of their students at one time. Additionally, students can simultaneously view their teacher’s presentation workspace while following along through the course in their own workspace. Having the ability to work with students simultaneously and thus be more efficient, can also help eliminate the need for supports like a TA. You no longer have to physically sit one on one with each student in the classroom to view their progress and troubleshoot where they might be getting stuck.
It is essential for new teachers to have the support they need when adopting new tools. Just like students need support from their teachers to be successful, new Computer Science teachers need to know that they are supported as well. Having pre-built content & autograding is a great start but if you don’t have access to support when you need it, how useful is it? A live real time teaching environment can have a huge impact on student engagement and success but without support, you may not be getting the most out of it. Having access to 24/7 support as well as live webinars and professional development training go a long way in making teachers feel supported in this new space.
Don’t let the thought of teaching Computer Science overwhelm you! It is important to remember that you are not alone. The national teacher shortage means that you are part of a growing number of instructors teaching Computer Science for the very first time. At Coding Rooms we aim to address teacher shortages and burnout with our simplified Computer Science platform that is flexible and easy to use. Using our platform, teachers are more efficient so they can work less on administrative tasks and more with students. Let Coding Rooms partner with you to remove the barriers to teaching Computer Science. Our platform is being used by thousands of teachers across the country to help simplify teaching Computer Science letting teachers do what they do best, teach.