Preparing the world’s future innovators
Science and technology are critical drivers of today’s global innovation economy. More and more companies–across all industry sectors–are seeking people with computer science (CS) and computer engineering skills.
In the U.S., there will be 1.4 million CS-related jobs by 2020, yet U.S. college graduates are expected to fill less than a third of those jobs. For American youth, this means an unfortunate mismatch between education and opportunity that we must solve by bringing together professionals from across the CS industry.
By increasing access to CS for all youth as early as possible, we will help them prepare for the jobs of today and tomorrow and give them the opportunity to become creators of technology and the world’s future innovators.
Partnering with teachers and schools
TEALS pairs computer science professionals from across the industry with classroom educators to team-teach CS in high schools throughout the U.S. Started in 2009 by Microsoft employee Kevin Wang, who developed and ran the program in his spare time, TEALS was embraced by Microsoft in 2011 and has been supported by the company ever since as part of its global YouthSpark initiative, which aims to increase access to CS education for all youth around the world.
TEALS helps high schools teach computer science by providing trained volunteers – industry professionals in CS – to partner with a classroom teacher and work as a team to deliver CS education to students who would otherwise not have the opportunity to learn CS in their school.
Over two years, the classroom teacher gradually takes over the responsibilities of teaching the course without volunteer support. The team-teaching and volunteer system of TEALS creates a strong ripple effect: it empowers teachers who can multiply the impact by providing computer science education to hundreds more students over the years.
What we do in the classroom
TEALS has two standard high school course offerings:
- Introduction to Computer Science
- AP Computer Science A
Introduction to Computer Science – is a one-semester class based on The Beauty and Joy of Computing at UC Berkeley. This is a broad-based intro class that uses the Snap! visual programming language to introduce students to computational thinking.
AP Computer Science A – is the standard Introduction to Java Programming. We use a curriculum based on University of Washington’s CSE 142 course and students are expected to take the AP exam in May.
TEALS also offers support for additional courses with limited availability:
- AP Computer Science Principles
- Advanced Topics and Projects in Computer Science
AP Computer Science Principles – is the new AP level computer science course launching in the fall of 2016. The course complements the existing AP Computer Science A course, with a focus on the fundamentals of computing, including problem-solving, large-scale data, the Internet, and cyber security.
TEALS plans to pilot a small cohort of schools in 2016-17 supporting AP Computer Science Principles.
Advanced Topics and Projects in Computer Science – is an advanced offering for schools with a significant population of students that have completed the AP Computer Science A course and wish to continue their computer science education. The course resembles an “independent study” where volunteers provide mentoring and technical guidance.
The TEALS Models
TEALS works with a variety of schools (rural, urban, suburban) and teachers across the nation, TEALS offers multiple levels of engagement based on each school’s requirements:
- Co-Teaching Model
- Teaching Assistants Model
- Consulting Support Model
- Remote Instruction
Co-Teaching Model – Our standard engagement model: a team of 2-4 volunteers partners with a classroom teacher to deliver Intro or AP Computer Science in the classroom. A typical class features 15 minutes of lecture and discussion, and 35 minutes of activities and lab work.
Teaching Assistants Model – In the Teaching Assistants Model, 1-2 volunteers provide support as lab TAs, working 1-on-1 with students and assisting the teacher with class preparation and grading, but not taking responsibility for planning and delivering lessons.
Consulting Support Model – In the Consulting Support Model, TEALS may provide a volunteer to assist a classroom teacher via phone or online consultation. This volunteer may visit the classroom occasionally as a TA or to lead a guest lecture. In addition, the school and teacher are encouraged to participate in the TEALS community through meet-ups, events, and our online community forum.
Remote Instruction – 33% of US public schools are in rural areas, where there are no software engineers to provide TEALS support. We use teleconferencing software to bring volunteers to these underserved schools. For example, volunteers in New York City and Seattle have participated in classrooms in rural Kentucky and Lower Yukon, Alaska.