AIR at Nebraska: K-8 Computer Science

AIR@NE Adapt, implement and research

Valerie Lackey's classroom at Goodrich

Join our AIR@NE grant for K-8 computer science teachers

For 2022, 30 teachers are being recruited for the fourth and final year of CSForAll: Adapt, Implement, and Research at Nebraska (AIR@NE), an NSF-funded grant that examines the adaptation and implementation of a validated K-8 Computer Science curriculum in diverse school districts. The grant expands the Research-Practitioner Partnership between the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Lincoln Public Schools (LPS) to other districts across Nebraska. The primary goal is to study how districts facing different contextual challenges, including rural schools, majority-minority schools, and Native American reservation schools, adapt the curriculum to fit local needs and strengths to broaden participation in computer science.

Cohorts and benefits

Participating teachers from across Nebraska
TEAC 851L class time

A cohort of teachers will be recruited each year to take summer courses (2019-2022). The fourth cohort will be held online, starting in summer 2022 with academic-year follow-up in 2022-2023.

What you will receive if selected:

  • Tuition and fees for two graduate courses on Zoom (except for the $50 graduate application fee) in Summer 2022: Introduction to Computer Science I for Teachers (CSCE 805T, June 13-17 and 21-24, mornings) and CS Pedagogy (TEAC 851L, June 13-17 and 21-24, afternoons); optional: tuition and fees for one graduate course the following summer
  • $1,500 worth of computer science hardware and software (i.e. iPads, robotics)
  • Funding to attend one conference (e.g., NETA or CSTA)
  • During academic year, attend five Saturday meetings and earn $100 per meeting
  • Participation in a statewide community of K-8 computer science teachers, providing mutual support for teaching and learning computer science.

The first cohort of 29 teachers took courses in Lincoln in the summer of 2019, while the second cohort of 24 teachers from Central Nebraska and the third cohort of 18 teachers statewide took courses online in 2020 and 2021, respectively.

Eligibility and Application

Eligibility

  • K-8 Nebraska teacher
  • Have to teach at least one computer science class to students at least once per week (or an after school club)
  • Agree to be part of the research project (agree to observations, completion of questionnaires and surveys, and interviews and collect student data)
  • Your principal/district support your teaching of computer science and participation in this grant

Application

    The application has two parts, (1) to AIR@NE and (2) to UNL. The AIR@NE application will ask you for:
  • Basic information (school, years of experience, etc.)
  • Essay Response (Explain your interest in computer science education and share your experience in teaching computer science)
  • Letter of recommendation from your principal or other administrator showing their support for your participation in this program and affirming that you will be teaching computer science to at least one class of students

If you are selected to participate in AIR@NE, then you must apply to UNL as a non-degree, post-baccalaureate graduate student, for Summer Semester 2022. NOTE: if you do want to use the AIR@NE courses toward a master's degree from UNL, instead of non-degree, post-baccalaureate, you should select Teaching Learning and Teacher Ed (MA). More information about the TLTE MA degree. You may apply first as a non-degree-seeking graduate student, but will have to pay the UNL application fee again if you decide later to apply for a master's degree.

Please if you have questions about your eligibility, the applications, or the program in general.

'Coding with Carl'

Rinne stars in Coding with Carl
Matt Rinne, playing Carl in a Coding with Carl video, teaches his students about algorithms.

AIR@NE Cohort 1 teacher Matt Rinne has one piece of advice for classroom teachers hoping to teach computer science for the first time: Something is always better than nothing. Rinne, a computer science teacher at Pyrtle Elementary School in Lincoln, Nebraska, believes in the value of struggling through challenges, especially for teachers approaching new topics, such as computer science. “I think sometimes people are scared about teaching it wrong, but the struggle is the whole thing,” Rinne said. “Just having the experience of using computers is better than not.” For about 20 to 30 hours a week, the computer science teacher adopts a Bill Nye-inspired identity to help his students learn this mindset with humor and creativity. His video series, “Coding with Carl,” takes a goofy look at some complicated computer science concepts, which Rinne says helps his students (and their parents) make learning fun. The videos have especially helped with distance learning in many Lincoln Public Schools classrooms. Read more


More articles

LPS Communications: Pyrtle teacher gets creative with computer science videos

Channel 10/11 News: Coding with Carl: LPS computer science teacher gets creative with curriculum

The research team includes (back row, from left) Kent Steen, Guy Trainin and Wendy Smith; (front row, from left) Leen-Kiat Soh and Gwen Nugent.
NSF Logo

Personnel

Dr. Leen-Kiat Soh, Computer Science and Engineering, Principal Investigator
Dr. Gwen Nugent, Child, Youth and Family Studies, Co-Principal Investigator
Dr. Wendy Smith, Center for Science, Mathematics and Computer Education, Co-Principal Investigator
Dr. Kent Steen, Lincoln Public Schools, Co-Principal Investigator
Dr. Guy Trainin, Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education, Co-Principal Investigator

Administrative support for AIR@NE is provided by UNL’s Center for Science, Mathematics and Computer Education.

Read more about the grant