The National Science Foundation recently awarded nearly $1 million to support the inclusion of computer science education in Wyoming schools and libraries.
The grant, sponsored by the University of Wyoming, will be branded as Wyoming’s Schools and Libraries Integrating Computer Science Education (WySLICE) and will prepare 150 K-8 teachers and state librarians from all disciplines to integrate computer science into their curricula.
Northwest College Division Chair of Physical Sciences Astrid Northrup will serve on the WySLICE advisory committee, which will meet monthly to engage K-8 teachers from across the state to experience professional development and collaborate on integrating computer science into their instruction of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and social science topics.
“WySLICE will provide direction for NWC to create professional development opportunities for area K-12 faculty to gain credentials in computer science and computational thinking,” Northrup said.
The curricula involve cybersecurity as well as other topics, including the use of technology in social concerns such as voting. Libraries in the state system act as partners for dissemination to rural areas of the innovative instructional approaches.
The Wyoming Legislature recently mandated that computer science instruction be provided in K-12 schools by 2022. The grant application was backed with letters of support from former Gov. Matt Mead, Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow and 17 other partners.
UW College of Engineering and Applied Science Assistant Professor Mike Borowczak led the grant application and will oversee research throughout the project.
“As we develop the curricula to meet the requirements, we will have the opportunity to bring these ideas to NWC to create professional development for area K-8 teachers to integrate computer science standards into their classrooms,” Northrup explained.
The grant award lasts through July 2022. To learn more about WySLICE, visit www.uwyo.edu/WySLICE.