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So you’ve been asked to teach computer science? No background? No problem!

Participate and share

Participate and share : Poster

Tuesday, December 1, 1:30–2:30 pm PST (Pacific Standard Time)

Dr. Shaun Hurley  
This session is for those teachers joining the ranks of high school computer science teachers lacking a formal computer science education. Participants will learn about the basic pedagogical approaches commonly found in computer science classes and will walk away with confidence, resources, tips, and communities to turn to afterward.

Audience: Teachers
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices not needed
Topic: Computer science & computational thinking
Grade level: 9-12
Subject area: Computer science
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Set professional learning goals to explore and apply pedagogical approaches made possible by technology and reflect on their effectiveness.
  • Stay current with research that supports improved student learning outcomes, including findings from the learning sciences.
  • Pursue professional interests by creating and actively participating in local and global learning networks.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Although there is a demand for computer science in high schools, there is a lack of qualified computer science teachers. I have learned first-hand, that although it is possible to learn how to teach computer science without a formal computer science background, the process can be very challenging, demanding, and can feel very isolating. With computer science becoming more common in high schools, more and more teachers are finding themselves being placed in a computer science classroom with little to no training. The purpose of this session is to give these teachers the confidence they need to be successful in their new position. This will be achieved by introducing them to a plethora of resources, social media communities, and common pedagogical approaches in computer science.


I think that now this is a poster presentation, my plan is to simply have resources available (e.g. slide deck, website, etc.) and will be around to answer any questions participants have.

Supporting research

Retention in computer science:
• Giannakos, M. N., Pappas, I. O., Jaccheri, L., & Sampson, D. G. (2017). Understanding student retention in computer science education: The role of environment, gains, barriers and usefulness. Education and Information Technologies, 22(5), 2365-2382.

Shortage of trained computer science teachers:
• Qian, Y., Hambrusch, S., Yadav, A., & Gretter, S. (2018). Who Needs What: Recommendations for Designing Effective Online Professional Development for Computer Science Teachers. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 50(2), 164–181.
• Menekse, M. (2015). Computer science teacher professional development in the United States: a review of studies published between 2004 and 2014. Computer Science Education, 25(4).
• Lee, A. (2015). Determining the effects of computer science education at the secondary level on STEM major choices in postsecondary institutions in the United States. Computers and Education, 88, 241–255.

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Dr. Shaun Hurley, Saint Edward's School

Holding degrees in physics, civil engineering, and educational technology, Dr. Shaun Hurley is an Apple Distinguished Educator and Google Certified Educator, bringing over thirteen years of classroom experience. In addition to his roles as the Mathematics Department Chair and Upper School Academic Technology Coordinator for Saint Edward’s School, he develops online computer science education courses for the University of Florida. He has taught over twenty different high school courses in the areas of math, physics, and computer science. He has also taught game design, iOS app development, and engineering at technology camps hosted at Stanford, Harvard, and George Washington University.

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