What do teachers do over their summer breaks? For 19 Metro Atlanta middle and high school teachers, the answer this year is to learn to code.
In its inaugural year, the STEM Teacher Leadership Program, sponsored by Honeywell Hometown Solutions, our corporate citizenship initiative, welcomed the local educators to the state-of-the-art computer labs at Georgia Tech, facilitated by the Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics and Computing (CEISMC).
The four-week program covered a variety of coding-related topics, including programming, computational thinking, microcomputers, augmented reality and robotics. “We are at an exciting time – creating a new discipline from scratch,” said instructor Bryan Cox, a computer science specialist from the Georgia Department of Education. “Computer science has been around a long time, but we are broadening it to a subject that will be taught from kindergarten through grade 12.”
The teachers will continue their education this fall when they’ll work with Honeywell engineers from our Atlanta Software Center who will serve as mentors to implement the new lesson plans. The goal is to prepare students for the Honeywell STEM Challenge, a software engineering competition where students work in teams to solve real-world challenges using the newly learned computation techniques. “The teachers have a new foundation to implement innovative practices that go beyond the standard curriculum taught in today’s classrooms,” said Jamshed Patel the site leader of the Honeywell Atlanta Software Center, during the program’s closing ceremony. “Our hope is to create a pipeline of talented young men and women who will become our future STEM leaders.”
Teachers Gaynell Troy, Richard Fox and Dana Johnson worked together to develop new lesson plans for the upcoming school year.
Here’s what three of the teachers (pictured above) had to say about their experiences:
Gaynell Troy, Brown Middle School 2018 Teacher of the Year
“I learned to design, build and code robots. Perhaps more importantly, my exposure to augmented and virtual reality have added new concepts and tools for teaching computer science to my class. I feel my perspective of computer science has been transformed, and I am already imagining powerful new lessons for my students.”
Richard Fox, Geometry Teacher at South Atlanta High School
“We learned about microcomputers, different programming languages, augmented reality, and robotics … all these things sounded so difficult and complicated to me, but in reality, they really are so simple. I've still not even scratched the surface of what I want to know. There was so much I wanted to learn about computer science and technology, but I was intimidated because I didn’t know where to start. After four intensive weeks of training, I now know it’s not all magic anymore, but it’s still magical.”
Dana Johnson, Computer Science Teacher at Coretta Scott King Young Women's Leadership Academy
"The network of teachers and instructors that was assembled was phenomenal. I now know at least 24 people who I can collaborate with on classroom challenges this fall. One of the coolest things we learned was Agile Scrum, a software project management tool that helped us track our progress throughout the program. The value I’ll bring back to the students from this program will be immeasurable.”
19 middle and high school teachers from Metro Atlanta took another step toward Georgia STEM certification after completing the STEM Teacher Leadership program at Georgia Tech.