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Computer Science PD: Let’s Take That Step Together

05 Dec 2021 7:55 PM | Shane Asselstine (Administrator)

Author: Shane Asselstine | Complex Area Computer Science Resource Teacher | Pearl City-Waipahu Complex Area

It’s a typical Sunday morning, I grab my coffee and turn on my computer. I open my Google Classroom and set up my screens to begin scoring PDE3 assignments. Each time I do this, I am reminded about why this routine exists. It has been an honor and a privilege to share the learning journey with each and every one of the teachers taking this course. Not only were they facing the struggles of the pandemic, but they also challenged themselves to take that next step in preparing our keiki for the future. It’s hard to believe that in the past two years since COVID-19 has hit, over 450 teachers across 85 different schools have attended computer science training.

Throughout the professional development, these teachers were engaged from the very first slide on a topic that for many causes anxiety and hesitation. After reading countless reflections, it is apparent that we are not comfortable with the unknown as teachers. Over the course of the three days, these brave teachers were exposed to a wide range of activities to help support them. On day one, we focused on the definition of computer science and the many misconceptions. This was followed by modeled lessons, equity goals, and small group discussions on the pedagogy of teaching in a computer science class. By the end of the day they were identifying barriers to implementation and then making a plan to overcome them.

“I felt very safe and comfortable learning new materials because our instructor set the culture to not be afraid of making mistakes.”

“What supported my learning the most was the modeling of a CS lesson, then discussing the components and what we noticed about how/what was being taught.”

“I really enjoyed having time to plan a lesson and collaborate with colleagues. It was very helpful discussing with others especially since most of us were from different schools. I also found the breakout collaborations very helpful. I had absolutely no familiarity with coding so it was nice to experiment with a partner and discuss different strategies to deal with debugging issues.”

Throughout the professional development sessions it is amazing to watch as anxiety, fear, and hesitations transform into confidence, purpose, and clarity. They truly leave prepared to teach computer science. Here are some of the takeaways:

  • Everything around us has been impacted by computer science.
  • Computer literacy is like riding a bike, computer science is like learning to create, test, and redesign that bike to meet the needs of the rider.
  • Computer science is less about “coding” and more about creativity, problem solving and thinking.


As I return to scoring portfolios, it is a good time to reflect on this thing called computer science. So let’s all take that first step together during CSEdWeek and make computer science a priority for our students. Commit to providing all students with equitable and inclusive access regardless of the demographics or economic status. Be that change for them and open those doors to opportunities they may not see on their own.

Here are some great opportunities to learn more this during the CSEdWeek:

  • 2021 Hawaii CSEdWeek [LINK]
  • Tutu's Family Code Dance Party: [LINK]
  • CSEdWeek Events [LINK]
  • Hour of Code Activities [LINK]

Join HSTE this week for CSEdWeek and get involved, then seek out training to prepare yourself to teach computer science. 

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