Oracle Academy equipped MESA teachers with tools and training that will lead to thousands of students at low-performing schools getting hands-on experience in coding.
Eight MESA teachers from across the state took a five day boot camp on Java programming and how to facilitate coding activities and programs with their students. These teachers will serve as a MESA Computer Science Advisory Group that will develop high school-level Java fundamentals teaching materials, train teachers to incorporate Java into their classrooms, and advise on MESA’s Alice/Greenfoot competitions.
The training was held in June at the UC Riverside College of Engineering and was focused on practical scenarios and classroom examples.
Opportunities like this are crucial for students who often have less access to computer science curriculum. More than half (61 percent) of high schools in California do not offer computer science courses, according to a study released by the Kapor Center, a nonprofit that focuses on equity and access in technology, and Computer Science for California (CSforCA), a campaign that promotes access to computer science education in California.
The week culminated with the teachers creating their own program that could be used in their classrooms. From a program that helped students calculate their own grades (in a math class), to a program that helped students classify organisms and animals (in a life science class), the teachers developed some great programs and ideas ready to implement.
Teachers walked away having more tools and resources to help their students succeed. UC Riverside MESA Director and curriculum lead Carlos Gonzales said “This type of computer education is critical in preparing students from underserved schools to thrive in the 21st century economy.”
“I gained confidence in my knowledge of coding which was my biggest goal so that when my students are trying to code using systems such as Arduino I would be able to help them,” one teacher said.
The teacher cohort will in turn facilitate workshops at two upcoming MESA meetings to further share their coding know-how with other MESA teachers. More than 200 MESA teachers are expected to attend.
Through this support and collaboration with MESA, Oracle Academy has shown a real commitment to computer science education for all.
MESA is an award-winning academic enrichment program uniquely positioned to provide engagement and inspiration to the growing number of diverse STEM students and future STEM professionals. The program provides academic enrichment, counsel and support for educationally disadvantaged students who have an interest in pursuing degrees in STEM fields. For more information about MESA visit mesa.ucop.edu
Oracle Academy advances computer science education globally to increase knowledge, innovation, skills development, and diversity in technology fields.