My Notebook

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Innovating Computer Science Education: My Journey as a Learning Architect

Innovating Computer Science Education:
My Journey as a Learning Architect

As a Fractional Chief Learning Officer and a computer science education aficionado, I’ve had the privilege of weaving my expertise through various educational landscapes – from the bustling computer science classrooms of Wisconsin, Iowa, New York, and Ohio to the innovative corridors of the entrepreneurial world. Today, I’d like to take you on a journey through a pivotal project that not only redefined my approach to learning design but also resonates profoundly with the curriculum challenges faced by today’s entrepreneurial expert coaches and course creators.

The Spring 2023 Project: A Convergence of Experience and Innovation

In Spring 2023, I embarked on an enriching venture as a Computer Science Education subject matter expert, synergizing my Wisconsin K12 teaching credentials with my extensive experience in both K12 and higher education. This project, in collaboration with a visionary publishing company, evoked the spirit of my past work with Open Education leader Lumen Learning and Dr. David Wiley. Embracing a philosophy of accessible education, we developed resources that were freely available online (or at no cost to students in the case of Lumen Learning), with printed versions available for this project. This model mirrored my career-long commitment to minimizing textbook dependency, a stance that naturally led me to the realm of online learning and my evolution as a Learning Architect.

Aligning with CSTA Standards: Revisiting a Passion

A highlight of this project was the opportunity to realign teaching resources with the CSTA (Computer Science Teachers Association) standards. This endeavor took me down memory lane to 2006 when I conceptualized and executed a middle and high school computer science program, entirely aligned with CSTA standards and as a prep program for local colleges and universities. That experience not only enhanced my leadership footprint in Wisconsin but also paved the way for numerous training opportunities with CSTA and the AP Computer Science Principles exam.

From Fourth Grade Teacher to Technology Trailblazer

My journey in learning design began in a Wisconsin elementary classroom, where my zeal for technology integration quickly became evident. I recall introducing my fellow educators to infrared connecting keyboards, a pioneering step in streamlining the learning process through technology. This initiative also led to my classroom being the first in the district to boast a wall mounted Smartboard. My passion for technology integration was further evidenced by the computer and programming curriculum I developed for summer school, which remains a cherished resource in my teaching arsenal.

Project Highlights: Challenges, Alignment, and Diverse Curriculum

Joining the Core Knowledge project midway posed unique challenges but reaffirmed my readiness for tough conversations about content alignment and leveling. The organization’s commitment to quality, evidenced by their promise to address concerns or remove my name as the Subject Matter Expert, was both reassuring and a testament to our shared values. This experience also reignited my love for curriculum development, reminding me of the importance of aligning content with outcomes and standards, a skill honed during my early teaching years.

This curriculum, tailored for both homeschoolers and rural districts (and beyond), underscores the importance of accommodating diverse teaching environments. It offers adaptable activities for classrooms with varying levels of technology access, addressing the persistent issue of educational technology inequalities.

An Invitation to Collaborate

As much as I relish sharing my experiences, I’m even more excited about the possibility of collaborating with you. In my role as a Fractional CLO and Learning Architect, each project is a unique adventure, yet my focus remains unwavering: to enhance the course experience and ensure that learning outcomes are met comprehensively. Whether it’s through lesson scaffolding or crafting immersive learning units, my goal is to maximize the learning impact of every course.

I encourage educators, especially those instructing K5 students, to explore these computer science units and the broader Core Knowledge curriculum. It’s an excellent resource for reinvigorating your classrooms, especially during the colder months when fresh, engaging content is most needed.

Ready to transform your course experiences? Let’s connect and explore how my expertise can elevate your learning endeavors.

CKSci Computer Science Units

Grade K Computers All Around Us
Grade 1 Helpful Computers
Grade 2 Using Computers
Grade 3 Codes and Computers
Grade 4 Problem-Solving and Computers
Grade 5 Designing Computer Programs