Educators from throughout the country have been in Bloomington this week for professional development in computer science. Infosys Foundation USA, the nonprofit arm of India-based Infosys (NYSE: INFY), says its second annual Pathfinders Summer Institute on the Indiana University campus is part of an ongoing effort to boost computer science education in schools nationwide. More than 400 teachers have spent the week in Bloomington and Infosys President and Deputy Chief Operating Officer Ravi Kumar says the response has been very positive.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business Reporter Mary-Rachel Redman, Kumar said we need teachers to be equipped in computer science education so they can bring that knowledge to classrooms.
"Not every school is equipped enough; not every teacher is equipped enough and we feel we have the onus and the responsibility to do that so we can build a future where students can actually learn computer science in schools," said Kumar.
Jason Byers, a teacher at Castle North Middle School in Newburgh with a social studies background, says he was nervous to step into the computer science realm but calls the program an exciting one for him.
"It lends itself to our kids’ creativity and to be honest, for me, just going through five days of it has literally reignited my desire to teach," said Byers. "The big thing that’s been impressed upon us is we’re learners ourselves and computer science really lends itself to teachers being a lead learner and stepping through it with your students. I think, with our new employability standards that are coming about this year as well, this is bringing back the rigor, the problem solving, kids overcoming adversity because computer science is challenging. But when they see their teachers up front struggling right along with them and then finally coming to a solution, I think it’s just really going to snowball and build as very successful program."
Byers spent three years as a fifth grade teacher and the last seven as a sixth grade social studies teacher at Castle North. He says he is transitioning to a new computer science role at his school and is excited to make the computer science program his own with the help of the Pathfinders Institute.
"The kids are going to be able to help me build this. I know we’re going to have a lot of support from the administration to really get the program rolling and I think our parents, in particular, are going to be excited about their kids being exposed to the computer sciences."
Kumar says there is a lot of work to be done to make sure that computer science is foundational in every school on the U.S. He says the next goal is to create a platform for teachers to continue their learning and engagement long after they go back to their schools.