Ms. Joy Schwartz started teaching in the realm of computer science when her principal asked her to teach a 3D printing class. Much to her surprise, her principal also tasked her with the mission of printing a prosthetic limb for a child. After diving into the project and learning the technology, Ms. Schwartz found the experience to be very rewarding.
Upon reflecting on her experience, Ms. Schwartz noted that two students who had started by trying to get the class of task became two of her most engaged students who even started to research biomedical technology majors at colleges. Other students also became engaged as well as her course started the process of creating a prosthetic limb. The project to deliver a prosthetic limb sparked interest across the school. While delivering a prosthetic hand to a young child who was overjoyed to be able to use the hand to play his video game, Ms. Schwartz had the opportunity to see the impact computer science education could have on her students and the community. Ms. Schwartz defined the experience as an example of teaching “Tech for Good.”
Teaching computer science in school provides students with the foundations and skills for jobs that don’t even exist yet. Ms. Schwartz specifically notes that providing students with the opportunity to gain interest and wonder in computer science is a gift that can provide students with the experiences that they will need for their future careers. In her current work at TACC and EPIC, Ms. Schwartz is passionate about providing teachers with the resources and training needed to provide students with computer science education.
Ms. Schwartz emphasized the importance of the role of administrators in extending computer science and innovative courses for students. When she accepted the We Teach _ CS Change Maker Award, she insisted that her administrator come with her. Ms. Schwartz noted that if her administrator had not taken a chance on innovative educational opportunities, such a positive outcome and impact would not have been possible.
Rex Academy provides teachers and administrators with curriculum and resources that can be used to help start a computer science program. By providing such resources, Rex Academy hopes to support schools that provide innovative learning opportunities that make a widespread impact on students and communities.