#69 – Inspire K–12 Students to Learn Computer Science

Unpacking Education December 8, 2021 35 min

To celebrate Computer Science Education Week, we have a special guest, Erica Roberts, a Master Teacher of computer science at Northside College Preparatory High School in Chicago, Illinois. Erica joins the team to share how she inspires students to learn computer science (CS). Together, we discuss how we might advocate for equity and celebrate the contributions of students, teachers, and partners in the field. CSEdWeek takes place from December 6–12.

This year, both CSEdWeek and the Hour of Code are aligned to the theme #CSEverywhere, which highlights the impact that computer science is making everywhere and the relationship that CS has to different subjects, industries, career paths, and everyday lives.

Our guest, Erica, recently completed her 17th year in the classroom after spending time as a software consultant in industry. She has been a Reader for the AP Computer Science Principles exam for the last 4 years. She is the 2020 recipient of the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) Northern Illinois Educator of the Year, a 2019 recipient of the NCWIT Educator Honorable Mention, and a nominee for the 2019 Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Education. She is part of the Computer Science Department at Northside College Preparatory High School in Chicago—one of the few Computer Science Departments that is 100% female.

Paul Beckermann
PreK–12 Digital Learning Specialist
Rena Clark
STEM Facilitator and Digital Learning Specialist
Dr. Winston Benjamin
Social Studies and English Language Arts Facilitator

The most damaging phrase in the language is ‘We’ve always done it this way!’

Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, American computer scientist


The following resources are available on AVID Open Access to explore this topic in more depth:

Computer Science Is an Equalizer: Teach, Inspire, and Advocate for Your Students

Computer science has impact well beyond software development. It has helped unlock mysteries in math, as well as medicine, and is also a means to create art. Knowledge of computer science has built your phone, the Internet, and your favorite movies and music. It has also helped us explore deep space and eradicate disease. CS is everywhere, and we continue to find new ways to use it every day.

Join us for this week’s episode as we discuss how you can inspire students to learn computer science. Our special guest, Erica Roberts, helps us explore how we might break computer science stereotypes so that all students have access—leaving them feeling empowered and motivated by all the possibilities in their futures.

In conjunction with #CSEdWeek, we have curated free resources—grab-and-go lessons that we have created, as well as activities from our partners—for you and your students to explore. From unplugged activities that introduce you to computer science to simulations that examine the power of artificial intelligence, we have resources that meet your needs across skill levels and grade levels.

Join this global movement where tens of millions of students worldwide take part in the largest learning event in history!

Don’t be afraid to try something. I know for a lot of teachers, it’s tough to let go and learn with your students. As someone who has been in computer science for a long time, most of what I know now that I teach my students I’ve learned on my own. What I learned in college is no longer relevant. So, don’t be afraid to learn alongside your students.

Erica Roberts

Extend Your Learning