Community Education Initiative Professional Learning Experience

Program Overview

The future is Code! From social media, to self-driving cars, to entertainment, to apps — computer code is the foundation for innovations that enrich the human experience and empower our lives. Learning to code is also vitally important to our national economy and for social mobility. 

Today, computing jobs are the top source of new wages in the United States1 and Computer Science is the second highest paid college major, yet there are currently over 500,000 unfilled coding jobs in the U.S.2 and that number is growing. Despite this opportunity, data by the National Center for Education Statistics3 reported only 63,744 computer science graduates combined entered the workforce last year. 

This disparity begins in schools. While 93% of parents want their child’s school to teach Computer Science4 only 35% of U.S. high schools do.5 We can do better. 

Lamar University is proud to partner with the Apple Community Initiatives team as we work together to help teachers of all grade levels learn to apply coding concepts in their classrooms and to do so in relevant and engaging ways. 

As designed, this model specifically seeks to promote greater adoption of coding in schools by addressing identified barriers such as:

  • too few teachers being sufficiently qualified to teach coding;
  • a disconnect between professional learning and the opportunity to immediately apply newly-developed skills in instructional settings;
  • inadequate opportunities to connect novice teachers into established communities of professional practice; and
  • an absence of professional learning models that promote sustainability, lead to lifelong learning, and encourage emerging peer-leaders. 

 

Dr. Tilisa Thibodeaux, Assistant Professor at Lamar University, provides an overview of the Professional Learning Experience.

Finally, through this program, students learn to follow their passions — implementing projects, developing apps, and using devices in authentic, relevant, and real–world settings. Coding gives students purposeful learning opportunities that are meaningful, engaging, and fun. 

Students learn necessary skills of collaboration and communication. Skills such as design thinking, project and challenge based learning, problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, and innovation which are necessary for today’s jobs and those of the future, regardless of the student’s eventual career choice.  

Code is also for all. It should not be limited to the privileged few. We believe code can empower individuals, regardless of their gender, ethnicity, and economic position. That’s why we’re proud to work closely with Apple to bring these experiences to traditional underserved schools and communities.

Contact Us

If you are interested in implementing this professional learning experience in your school district, contact Tammy Comeaux, the program coordinator, at (409) 880-2242 or via email: tcomeaux@lamar.edu.