K-State Project to Bring Computer Science to Rural Schools
The K-State Cyber Pipeline Program, supported by a Broadening Participation in Computing (BPC) grant from the National Science Foundation, is exploring ways to make computer science and programming more accessible to students in rural schools across Kansas. With the rise of work-from-home jobs, as well as the increasing importance of technology in nearly all facets of agriculture, we feel that this is a great opportunity for students and teachers at all levels to gain valuable skills that will help them in the future.
The three primary members of the Cyber Pipeline team all attended rural schools in Kansas, and it is very important to us to figure out how to provide students at those schools the same opportunities for a career in technology and computer science that are available at larger urban and suburban schools.
Part of this program involves conducting research to determine the availability of computer science learning opportunities in rural schools in Kansas, and also to explore why students in those rural schools choose to study computer science or not. Through this program, we also hope to provide small, self-contained activities to schools that introduce programming and computer science to students, and then measure the impacts of those activities on student views of computer science.
Another aspect of the program will involve adapting existing computer science lesson plans and curricula to be more relevant to rural audiences. To accomplish this, we would like to build a group of content area experts, including teachers of all kinds, to help us ensure the curriculum is accessible to a wide audience and applicable to students in a variety of classrooms.
Finally, we also have a training program available to teachers who would like to learn how to teach computer science courses or just bring some computing topics into their existing classes. We provide courses with free curricula that are aligned with the AP Computer Science Principles (AP CSP) and Computer Science A (AP CSA) exams.
We are looking for teachers of all kinds throughout the state of Kansas who would be willing to work with us on this project, but especially teachers in rural schools or focused in rural-related topics such as agriculture. Specifically, we hope to recruit schools to participate in a couple of student surveys, perform our activities, and find teachers to help review and suggest curriculum improvements. In addition, teachers may sign up for our professional development program to learn programming themselves and how they can teach it, either as a standalone class or as part of an existing class.
If you are interested in participating in any part of this project, or would like to learn more, please fill out the survey linked here.
Feel free to forward this information to any colleagues who may be interested as well. If you have any questions at all, please feel free to contact us at [email protected].
The Cyber Pipeline Team, [email protected]
Russell Feldhausen, Director of the Computational Core
Nathan Bean, Co-Director of the Advancing Learning and Teaching in Computer Science Laboratory
Josh Weese, Co-Director of the Advancing Learning and Teaching in Computer Science Laboratory