Computer Science and Supercharged Virtual Learning in Georgia

To celebrate Computer Science Education Week (December 4-10), we’re bringing you a series of posts highlighting both the benefits of computer science education and fun ways for teachers of all backgrounds and skill levels to give their students computational thinking skills. Stay tuned for more like this throughout the week!

This week on the podcast we bring you a discussion between Tom and Dr. Caitlin McMunn Dooley, Deputy Superintendent for teaching and learning at the Georgia Department of Education. Dr. Dooley’s been involved in education for over 20 years and has worked in schools and led a number of initiatives.

When her husband’s career took their family to Texas, Dr. Dooley’s only requirement was that she go back to school to obtain her PH.D. to learn more about how to be a better teacher and about how to use technology as it was expanding in education. Their next adventure took them to Georgia, where Dr. Dooley got a job as a professor at Georgia State, educating new teachers at their schools.

Fast forward 12 years– Dr. Dooley now leads a statewide effort to supercharge virtual learning with an open technology architecture that will improve learner experience, credit transfer and more. In addition, she’s working hard with her team to integrate computer science into every Georgia school using a framework Dooley co-authored.

Listen in to learn more about the work being done in Georgia, their new learning architecture, the importance of computer science (beyond just coding) and how they’ve built partnerships that have aided in continuing to improve learning for all Georgia students.

Key Takeaways:

[1:41] Caitlin Dooley runs down the list of things she is currently working on, starting with Georgia Virtual Learning.
[5:54] About Total Learning Architecture.}
[7:10] Their partnership and involvement with the Advanced Distributed Learning lab.
[9:48] Georgia Virtual’s use of the IMS CASE: Competencies & Academic Standards Exchange; One of the elements of the Total Learning Architecture.
[10:20] The improvement on the old-fashioned, pdf transcripts and other parts of the Architecture.
[11:46] What a Learning Record Store (LRS) is and how students and teachers will use it.
[12:39] GVL’s new, online learning platform, TOOL, and how it is benefiting teachers.
[15:05] How Caitlin sees TOOL benefiting teachers compared to traditional forms of PD.
[17:14] Other states and peers moving in the direction of adopting a new learning architecture.
[18:51] The importance of computer science for students.
[22:52] Computer science is more than just coding; it’s about a broader set of competencies.
[24:48] What Caitlin sees for the ideal high school sequence.
[26:18] How the Department of Education in Georgia is working to advance computer science education.
[28:15] Caitlin’s colleagues in other states that are also working to advance computer science education.
[29:53] The importance of outside support and partnerships.

Mentioned in This Episode:

Georgia Virtual Learning
Total Learning Architecture
Advanced Distributed Learning
IMS: Competencies & Academic Standards Exchange CASE
Georgia Virtual Learning’s TOOL
National Science Foundation
Computer Science Teachers Association
National Math + Science Initiative
CS for Georgia

Suggested Listening:

If you enjoyed this podcast, you should also listen to:

“S2: E7 The Future is Here: Artificial Intelligence & What it Means for our Kids”

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Getting Smart Staff

The Getting Smart Staff believes in learning out loud and always being an advocate for things that we are excited about. As a result, we write a lot. Do you have a story we should cover? Email [email protected]

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