Keith George is Leading the Coding Charge in Alabama Schools

Keith George is Leading the Coding Charge in Alabama Schools

Keith George is Leading the Coding Charge in Alabama Schools

The Tynker Blue Ribbon Educators are represented in almost every state in the U.S. and 10 different countries. Keith George, passionate EdTech evangelist, is determined to make Alabama a stronghold for coding in schools.  Keith will be moderating Monday’s #Tynkerchat, with our dedicated code-minded educators. Here’s a little more about Keith:      

Keith George is the Educational Technology Specialist with the Alabama Math, Science and Technology Initiative at the Alabama State Department of Education. Keith taught Social Studies and Computer Technology for 13 years while also serving as an Instructional Technology Coach. He is a member of the International Society for Technology in Education, the Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education, and the Alabama Education Technology Association. He blogs at www.bigtechcoach.com. You can reach him on Twitter at @BigTechCoach. 

This week, Keith shared his ideas on promoting coding in Alabama schools: 

1. You’re a Tynker Blue Ribbon Educator and a champion of coding in schools. For schools that haven’t made coding a priority, what’s the biggest reason those schools should emphasize coding more? 
 

I believe that computer science in general, and coding in particular, provides all students with a foundational knowledge of how the modern world works. While no one expects every student to become a programmer, an understanding computational thinking – a building block of coding – will help students in every aspect of their academic career and beyond. Understanding how coding works and how to approach problems with an algorithmic mindset will help students be better digital citizens. They will recognize problems that could be addressed by programming a device to implement a solution. Even if they are not the one programming the solution, the ability to understand that a solution could come from programming is an important and necessary skill.

2. Some schools are “dabbling in coding” using Spheros and Parrot drones. What takes them to the next step- mastery?
 
I think many educators get caught up in the “stuff” of Ed Tech, including coding. And if that increases engagement or is the carrot that brings students (or teachers) to the coding table, then that is great. But this can often lead to two days of intense work that fades away as obstacles pop up or other factors interrupt the work. 
 
3.  Your state, Alabama (according to Code.org), had only 28 schools offer the AP exam in Computer Science. What do you tell your state about the importance of CS in Alabama?
 
First, I think it is important to remember that the AP Computer Science exam is just one measure of progress towards computer science education.  Alabama has seen growth in participation in Hour of Code, Code.org trainings and other non-AP but computer science related activities across all grades.  Having said that, I think everyone will be pleasantly surprised when the participation numbers for the May 2017 AP Exam are released! There has been significant work done in Alabama in this area. A+CollegeReady was named a Code.org regional partner for the new Code.org CS Discoveries middle school course and that course was piloted by 23 teachers across Alabama. The State Department of Education has a committee in place to revise the “Technology Course of Study.”  One indication of the direction Alabama is moving is that the Course of Study has already been renamed to the “Digital Literacy/Computer Science Course of Study.”
 
4. What/who inspires you the most these days? 
 
I have many EdTech heroes, but if I had to name names I would start with Tony Vincent (@tonyvincent), Kathy Schrock (@kathyschrock) and Adam Bellow (@adambellow).  They are all leaders that I have followed for many years and I am proud to say that I have met each of them and even had the chance to really sit and talk with them.  I seek out every conference in my region at which they are speaking and make every attempt to attend. I follow them all on Twitter and I love considering them part of my PLN.
 
5. Favorite TED Talk, inspirational video/talk? 
 
Even though I was not able to attend in person, I have the YouTube recording of Adam Bellow’s 2013 ISTE Closing Keynote permanently favorited in my account. I have watched this video at least a dozen times and have even been “caught” trying to model my presentations after Adam’s keynote style. (umm, guilty!)
 

***

Thanks again Keith! We’ll look for you on Twitter at @BigTechCoach

Join Keith as he moderates #Tynkerchat for us this Monday. 

Join #TynkerChat here!

Get Notified about #Tynkerchat!

Daniel Rezac is the Education Community Manager at Tynker. He's been a science teacher, a technology coach, STEAM Coordinator, and school Tech Director working with students from Pre-K to adults. Feel free to reach out to him at daniel [at] tynker.com.

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