Hartford-Area Teachers to Demonstrate Computer Science Training

Mobile CSP Program made Possible by Trinity’s $902,000 NSF Grant
Ten Connecticut high school teachers, including nine from Greater Hartford, will deliver presentations Thursday, August 8 at 10:30 a.m. in the Washington Room in Mather Hall at Trinity College describing their work during an intensive six-week professional development course. The program is designed to enable the teachers to introduce advanced computer science principles in their respective schools during the 2013-14 academic year.

This first phase of the course – made possible by a $902,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant awarded to Trinity Computer Science Professor Ralph Morelli – is a unique collaboration between the College, the Hartford Public School System, and the Connecticut Chapter of the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA). Morelli’s grant, which runs through December 31, 2015, will fund two more training courses, leading to the participation of at least 30 high school teachers.

The August 8 program will consist of presentations by the teachers covering the work they have done. Morelli and Chinma Uche, president of the Connecticut CSTA chapter and a co-investigator on the grant, will be on hand.

The summer course is part of a three-year Mobile Computer Science Principles (CSP) Project designed to train Connecticut high school teachers to introduce AP-level computer science courses in their respective schools. Nationally, the goal of the program is to train 10,000 qualified K-12 computer science teachers. Additional details about the effort in Connecticut can be found at www.mobile-csp.org.

What distinguishes the Mobile CSP project from other programs around the country is its focus on mobile technology (smartphones and portable tablets) to teach computer science. As a result of the course, students will learn computing by learning to build mobile apps that serve their community. In Hartford, one objective is to sharpen students’ computing skills by building mobile apps that can support various City departments. Another objective is to get previously underrepresented Hartford students excited about computing.

This year’s participating schools include the Academy of Aerospace and Engineering and the Academy of Engineering and Green Technology, both in Hartford; Great Path Academy at Manchester Community College; the Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy; Joseph A. Foran High School in Milford; the Journalism and Media Academy in Hartford; the Pathways Academy of Technology and Design Magnet High School in Windsor; Tolland High School; Two Rivers Magnet High School in East Hartford; and Wethersfield High School. 

This project builds on Trinity’s Humanitarian Free and Open Source Software (HFOSS) initiative, which, since 2007, has been engaging undergraduate students at Trinity and other schools in building free software for socially beneficial applications.

The event is free and open to the public.