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The Latest in Computer Science

Important Information for Teachers About Computer Science Education

A lot has happened in the world of computer science in Nevada. Thanks to the work of the Department of Education and Computer Science Subcommittee of the STEM Advisory Council, Nevada is recognized as a national leader in computer science. Below are updates on nine topics of information:

  1. Nevada's Strategic Plan
  2. Half-credit course in CS
  3. Changes to CS licensure endorsements
  4. Congressional App Challenge
  5. Bite-Size Seminar Series
  6. The Ed Tech standards review
  7. The online teacher training portal
  8. FY19 SB 200 funding allocations
  9. FY18 SB200 report.

 

Nevada’s Strategic Plan for Computer Science Education

The Computer Science Subcommittee of the Nevada STEM Advisory Council has just completed a working DRAFT of the state Computer Science Education Strategic Plan. We would love to hear any feedback on this action plan. Please send comments to Cindi Chang at the Nevada Department of Education.

 

Computer Science and Applications - half-credit course required for graduation

With today's advancing technologies in most every career path, the need for a basic knowledge in computer science and computational thinking, along with our current computer literacy, is essential for our students to be successful in the future. Our students need to understand how to not only be users of technology, but also creators of it.

The former "Use of Computers" graduation requirement has gone through some changes to reflect the requirements in SB 200 which became effective July 1, 2018. Regulatory language has been written by LCB (Legislative Council Bureau) and passed the State Board on August 30, 2018.

The updates include:

1. Name change to "Computer Education and Technology" which is in alignment with the wording in Senate Bill 200.

2. 50% of instruction time will be dedicated to computer science and computational thinking; the other 50% will be on digital literacy and the productivity tools.

3. NAC 389.663, 389.664, and 389.688 all reference the change below regarding the half credit course towards high school graduation:

"If a pupil satisfactorily completes a course of study in computer education and technology during the sixth, seventh, or eighth grade, the pupil is not required to take the course of study in computer education and technology and must only earn a minimum of 17 1/2* (this varies by diploma type) units of credit for required courses pursuant to subsection 2. The course of study in computer education and technology must be taught for at least one semester or trimester, or the equivalent, and must not be taught as part of another course of study. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed as requiring a school district to offer a course in computer education and technology as part of the curriculum of a middle school."             

NOTE: The K-12 Computer Science Standards AND the K-12 Technology Standards will be used to frame the concepts that are required to be taught in this Computer Science and Applications half-credit course. This subset of standards, and other FAQs, are described in the Guidance Document for the new Computer Science and Applications course.

Computer Science License Endorsements Have Changed

Regulatory changes to the computer science licensing endorsements were approved at the August 30, 2018 State Board meeting.

NOTE: These changes to the computer science endorsements apply to teachers who are getting them for the FIRST time. If you currently hold computer science or computer literacy endorsements from the past, you DO NOT need to get re-licensed. You should, however, get professional development in the areas that you need to comply with the upcoming endorsement and course changes.

Here are the changes:

NAC 391.192: To be repealed

NAC 391.202: To be updated as follows -

Endorsement to teach computer technology-based applications and computational thinking. (NRS 391.019)

To receive an endorsement to teach computer technology-based applications and computational thinking that includes issues relating to information technology, tools for productivity, communication and research, and computational thinking, a person must have a valid secondary license, or a valid license to teach middle school or junior high school education, and must have completed nine semester hours of coursework consisting of:

  1. Three semester hours of coursework in a course of study that covers methods for teaching computer science;
  2. Three semester hours of coursework in a course of study that covers concepts in computer science; and
  3. Three semester hours of coursework in a course of study that covers methods for teaching computer applications which include, without limitation: (a) word processing and the use of spreadsheets; (b) communication and collaboration tools; (c) internet research tools; (d) internet safety; and (e) proper keyboarding techniques.

NAC 391.196: To be updated as follows -

Endorsement to teach advanced computer science. (NRS 385.080, 391.019)

To receive an endorsement to teach advanced computer science, a person must have a valid secondary license, and must:

1. Successfully complete twelve semester hours of coursework, consisting of:

   (a) Three semester hours of coursework in a course of study that covers methods for teaching computer science;

   (b) Three semester hours of coursework in a course of study that covers concepts in computer science; and

   (c) Six semester hours of coursework in a course of study that covers instruction concerning programming in computer languages;

 

   OR

 2. Submit to the Department official documentation which indicates that the person passed, at the level of competency specified by the Commission, the "Praxis Computer Science Test" prepared and administered by the Educational Testing Service.

Here is a table to illustrate what endorsement a teacher would need in order to teach specific classes.

We are excited to open this opportunity for more teachers to receive their endorsement in computer science. The goal is to keep the rigor there so that teachers are well prepared to teach computer science but remove the barriers that existed prior, and provide multiple entry points for our educators. This tiered approach and collaboration with our Regional Professional Development Programs and other colleges and universities will help us accomplish this goal.

Congressional App Challenge 2018

Use code to inspire students and change Congress!

Students across the state are invited to participate in the Congressional App Challenge, and opportunity to submit an original app to be judged by a panel of local leaders.

It is free to participate! Any app created within the last calendar year can be submitted.

Three steps to participate:

1. Register and learn more

2. Design and build an original app

3. Submit the app before October 15, 2018

 

Don’t let your student miss an opportunity to have their app displayed in the Capitol Building in Washington, DC!

Byte-Size Seminar Series

Are you a teacher, administrator, district person who is looking for more information and training on the computer science initiatives in Nevada such as the K-12 CS standards, professional development, licensing endorsements, and more?

 

The Nevada Department of Education’s professional over Computer Science Education, Cindi Chang, is offering more workshops for 2018-2019 in her “Byte-Size Seminar Series”. Here is a flyer with information for distribution. These workshops are free, byte-sized, and provide the support and resources that computer science educators need. Please reach out to Cindi for future workshop topic suggestions.

 

Nevada’s 2010 Educational Technology Standards to be Reviewed/Revised

Eight years is LIGHT years for technology standards. The 2010 Nevada Technology standards will be reviewed/revised by a team of educational experts on October 18th and 19th in the Southern Office of the Nevada Department of Education.

Recent changes to the national ISTE standards have prompted a review of our current standards to make sure our students are receiving the most current and relevant instruction possible. More to come as this story unfolds.

Online Teacher Training Portal

Our Regional Professional Development Programs (RPDPs), in collaboration with the Nye County Consortium (Nye, Storey, White Pine, Lincoln, Churchill, and Pershing Counties), has created an online teacher training portal as a resource for all Nevada educators to unwrap the new Nevada Academic Content Standards for Computer Science.

The lessons are based on the fundamental concepts of the K-12 science standards. There are 15 hours of instruction available for teachers.

 

Senate Bill 200 FY19 Computer Science Grant Funding

The FY19 grant funds have been allocated. The breakdown can be seen in the table below. All applicants received their full requested amount or a portion if it was over the evenly distributed amount allowed.

All districts/charters who applied received their award letters in August and should have begun spending. Please see your district grant representative for detailed information on accessing this grant money.

Total FY19 funds available: $1,400,000.00

# Districts funded: 9

# Charters funded: 7

Senate Bill 200 FY18 Status Report

 

Here is the Nevada Department of Education Status Report on K-12 Computer Science in the state since Senate Bill 200 was signed into law on June 15, 2017.