iTeachU: Building Upon National and State CTE Teacher Recruitment Efforts

For more than two decades we have heard alarms, warning of the shortage of secondary teachers in content areas such as agriculture education and family and consumer sciences… In response, national initiatives emerged to address the need to recruit teachers into these career and technical education (CTE) fields. The National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE) (2018) began the Tagged to Teach Ag initiative in 2009 and turned a spotlight on the need to recruit and retain professionals in that space.

A Kansas-based campaign coined “Say Yes to FCS” was adopted in 2014 by the National Association of State Administrators of Family and Consumer Sciences (NASAFACS) (Randel & Spavone, 2016). The American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (AAFCS) hosts online resources to fill the FCS teacher pipeline. These campaigns and others have heightened an awareness of the need for teachers in these fields of CTE.

Statewide CTE Teacher Recruitment Efforts

Capitalizing on the buzz created by the national Tagged to Teach Ag and Say Yes to FCS campaigns, statewide recruitment efforts are underway to recruit the next generation of CTE teachers in South Dakota.

Each year, South Dakota FFA members who plan to attend South Dakota State University (SDSU) to major in agricultural education are invited to participate in the event, which mirrors an athletic signing. The student, their agriculture teacher and SDSU faculty sit at a table and sign a framed letter of intent to teach agriculture.

South Dakota has undertaken additional statewide efforts to recruit family and consumer sciences teachers… In addition to the traditional means of recruiting, SDSU implemented iTeachU in 2011. The one-day, annual event on campus is a joint effort between the agricultural education and FCSE faculty in the department of teaching, learning and leadership, and introduces participants to a career in teaching while simultaneously providing a glimpse into college life.

Associated faculty take on the logistical roles of organizing and planning the iTeachU program, while current SDSU students facilitate the event. This joint effort between faculty and students with diverse interests is purposeful. At SDSU, several of the core education courses are cross-listed between these disciplines, and many students, pursuing degrees to become agriculture and/or FCS teachers, will attend classes taught by both faculty throughout their time as students. These shared classroom experiences help students recognize the CTE connection that agriculture and FCS share.

ACTE members can read the full article, “iTeachU: Building Upon National and State CTE Teacher Recruitment Efforts,” in the November/December issue of Techniques today. Watch your mailboxes for the print edition to appear this week!

Not a member? Join! ACTE is the largest national education association dedicated to the advancement of education that prepares youth and adults for successful careers.

EarSketch: Inspiring Persistence in Computing Through Music

“[EarSketch] teaches and sets us free. It’s like our own playground wherein we’re able to make whatever we want. We finished our projects,” said a young, female computer science student. “Yes, I consider myself a programmer.”

During a focus group, the student quoted expressed a changing perception of her interest in computer science and of herself as a programmer. This student exemplifies the significant improvement in both student engagement and content knowledge we have found to occur when students use EarSketch, a browser-based learning platform where they explore introductory programming through music remixing.

EarSketch engages students by enabling them to learn computing creatively through personal expression and music. Students learn elements of computing and mix music samples. They write Python or JavaScript code to algorithmically create music in popular genres including but not limited to trap, dubstep, hip-hop, rock and pop. Coding concepts (e.g., loops, lists, and user-defined functions) mix musical samples, beats and effects to develop tracks that students can access and modify anywhere with a broadband internet connection.

Curriculum and Teacher Materials

The EarSketch curriculum is aligned with the programming standards of the College Board’s advanced placement (AP) computer science principles (CSP) course, as well as a related (non-AP) computer science principles course that is standard for high school students in the state of Georgia. AP CSP was launched in the fall of 2016 with a goal to offer a rigorous introductory curriculum that would broaden participation in computer science. The course introduces students to the creative aspects of programming, abstractions, algorithms, large data sets, the internet, cybersecurity, and the impacts of computing across multiple domains (Astrachan et al., 2011).

Thirty-five CSP learning objectives are organized around seven big ideas and six computational thinking practices. Its curricular framework is broader than that of traditional computer science courses, with a focus on collaboration, analysis, communication, creativity and connections to other disciplines. In contrast to other introductory computing courses, CSP is language-agnostic. It does not mandate a specific programming language or problem domain: Students submit performance tasks created with a programming language and/or within an environment of their choice. This all facilitates the integration of EarSketch.

Computing teachers may be unfamiliar with this approach and the idea of teaching CSP within the domain of music. We have thus developed scaffolding and supports for teachers that include lesson plans, slides, worksheets, mini-tasks, rubrics and other teaching materials; face-to-face and online professional development; and an interactive community where teachers can ask questions, share materials and review additional training resources.

ACTE members can read the full article, “EarSketch: Inspiring Persistence in Computing Through Music,” in the October issue of Techniques today. Watch your mailboxes for the print edition to appear this week!

Not a member? Join! ACTE is the largest national education association dedicated to the advancement of education that prepares youth and adults for successful careers.

PAGES will feature excerpts from articles published in Techniques and wholly original content.

Launching PAGES, a Techniques blog

Hello, world! Welcome to PAGES, a Techniques blog.

Since joining the staff of ACTE in 2017, I have worked for this day. We’re live! PAGES will feature excerpts from articles in print and wholly original content (interviews, case studies, news items and more) based on the theme of each new issue. We’ll talk about topics trending in career and technical education (CTE). And we’ll highlight stories of educators and programs doing the work to ensure our students graduate college- and career-ready.

From PAGES it is my hope you will find increased value in Techniques online, expanded opportunities for engagement and even more stories of CTE success. Written for career and technical educators by career and technical educators, Techniques addresses the issues ACTE members care about most, providing input you can trust when making decisions for your classrooms, programs and school systems — in print and on the web.

Are you interested in writing for PAGES?

Let’s collaborate! View the 2018–19 Editorial Calendar and reach out via email to discuss your ideas. At conferences, in conversation with students and on the Expo floor at VISION, think of Techniques (and PAGES) often. Bring me your stories, because they are the stories that matter to CTE educators like you.

Check back next week for a preview of our celebration in San Antonio: ACTE’s CareerTech VISION 2018.