Rebecca Pearson, CTE Director
Charles County Public Schools
My background is in Special Education. That’s what I have my Masters in. When I was working as an instructional specialist, before moving into CTE, I attended a lot of CS events in Charles County because CS was just taking off. People were talking about CS being a life skill and that resonated with me. I saw the need to reach out to every student and I drank the kool aid! It was a journey of many steps to learn along with everyone else as the CS program grew. I was asked to present and share what I know about UDL (Universal Design for Learning) because the CS community was hungry to learn best practices from educators and was just starting to realize that how you teach is at least as important as what you teach.
Everyone in CTE needs foundational skills in computer science. I fully embraced that idea and I want to make sure it continues to evolve so it doesn’t get pushed out as just a trend or a temporary phenomenon.
When I first started supporting computer science education I was so new to all of it. I had some real “aha” moments going to elementary schools when I saw how it starts to make sense using step by step problem solving. There’s a lot of learning about computer science that is done without using a computer at all. Laying a problem out on the floor and acting out the solution, then coding it into the computer. You see the process of how you get to the end point for a very foreign concept. Students experience the results over and over again. These simple activities pull back the curtains to see how things work. Computers are part of our students’ world, it’s important that they understand how to be creators with technology.
When the NSF (National Science Foundation) came to visit in 2016 my son was one of the first graders selected to run the demonstration of coding in elementary. He programmed the robots so quickly and casually that the adults had to ask him to repeat the steps slowly so they could understand how he could solve the problems so easily!
Read more about the CS program in Charles County Public Schools.