Marquette Wire

Marquette partners with Code.org to help local teachers learn about computer science

Professor+Dennis+Brylow+teaches+an+elementary+computer+science+class+to+elementary%2C+middle+and+high+school+teachers+in+preparation+for+Computer+Science+Education+Week.
Professor Dennis Brylow teaches an elementary computer science class to elementary, middle and high school teachers in preparation for Computer Science Education Week.

Professor Dennis Brylow teaches an elementary computer science class to elementary, middle and high school teachers in preparation for Computer Science Education Week.

Photo by Jordan Johnson

Photo by Jordan Johnson

Professor Dennis Brylow teaches an elementary computer science class to elementary, middle and high school teachers in preparation for Computer Science Education Week.

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As Wisconsin’s only regional Code.org partner, Marquette hosts classes that train local elementary, middle and high school teachers throughout southeastern Wisconsin how to teach computer science in their schools.

During Computer Science Education Week from Dec. 4-10, almost 120 thousand different events will take place to teach students about the field.

In Milwaukee, Marquette’s partnership with Code.org has allowed many local teachers to learn about computer science and teach it more effectively to their students.

Code.org is a national non-profit dedicated to expanding access to computer science, especially among women and minority groups. They offer free resources that teach students of all ages the basics of computer science. In order to increase their impact, Code.org has partnered with over 50 regional partners across the United States.

The middle and high school classes consist of five days of classes in the summer followed by four quarterly workshops throughout the school year.

Dennis Brylow, an associate professor of mathematics, statistics and computer science, said teachers attending these classes often have little to no computer science experience.

During the workshops, Marquette faculty demonstrate how a class might be taught to attendees, who in turn develop their own lesson plans and present them to each other.

Marquette hosted an elementary class Saturday, Dec. 2.

Brylow, who taught the class, said it was held this weekend in preparation for Computer Science Education Week.

“They’re pretty brave to come volunteer for this, and they’ve got a lot to learn in a short amount of time,” Brylow said.

Gina Marchionda-Schneider and Ed Schreiber are teachers at Lakeshore Elementary in Fond du Lac who began using Code.org last year with their school’s computer coding club, but they said they attended the Dec. 2 class to learn how to use the curricula more effectively.

“We’ve been using (Code.org) without any support, so we wanted to actually meet people that would help us use it more efficiently and help kids faster,” Marchionda-Schneider said.

They both said they agreed that the Code.org content has been a great teaching tool for their students.

“They like the freedom of moving along at their own pace, and they like being able to do things on their own,” Marchionda-Schneider said.

“I’ve never heard a student say anything negative about it,” Schreiber said.

Mary Beth LaHaye also attended the elementary class Dec. 2. She is a math coach at Ronald Reagan Elementary in New Berlin and has been using Code.org resources with her students ever since it was released four years ago. She said through computer science, many of her students have found new levels of success.

“There are kids who might not be the best readers who are phenomenal at visual problem solving and learning from their mistakes,” LaHaye said. “I’ve had kids come up to me and say, ‘You know what, I made a mistake, but I know I can try again because it’s making my brain stronger.’”

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