A Multi-Faceted Approach to Training Primary and Secondary Computing Teachers Across Nebraska


Universal computational literacy is an aspirational goal of many public and private organizations both within the United States and also around the globe. In this talk I will discuss the barriers to and opportunities for “Computer Science for All” within the diverse context of schools across Nebraska. I will highlight several initiatives undertaken at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) over the last 5 years to help address computer science teacher shortages in the state. Informal professional development activities play a key role in our mission to empower primary and secondary school teachers to introduce computational thinking and design problem-solving in their classrooms. Formal university coursework for teachers plays an equally-important role in ensuring that secondary students have access to rigorous, high-quality courses that prepare them for post-secondary studies in computing disciplines. By exploring the ecosystem of experiences UNO has developed for pre-service and in-teachers, I aim to underscore important lessons we have learned to date and present a vision for computer science teacher preparation in the future.


Brian Dorn, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Computer Science and holds the Union Pacific Community Chair in Computer Science Education at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Along with colleagues and students in the BRIDGE lab, he conducts human-centered computing research with a particular emphasis on education and the learning sciences. He actively designs and evaluates educational technology to support the teaching and learning of computing content. As a community chair, he also is actively involved in advocacy and training work to support universal access to computing education in primary and secondary schools across Nebraska. He holds a Ph.D. from the Georgia Institute of Technology, is an active member of the ACM, ISLS, and AERA, and serves as co-editor of the journal Computer Science Education.