CS in Schools is a free industry-supported programme for secondary school teachers. We help schools build an effective digital technology programme by helping teachers learn how to successfully teach coding.
Watch our 2020 video to get started:
How does it work?
We work with schools and teachers that want compulsory, industry-relevant coding classes in their Years 7 and 8 curriculum. Our programmes cover the coding requirements of the Australian Digital Technology Curriculum at these levels.
To support teachers and schools, we give away free teaching materials, offer optional support from a volunteer, run workshops, and provide teacher support through an online community.
We offer three modes of support to teachers:
- Partner mode. This is our most popular mode, where a volunteer software engineer partners in the classroom with a teacher for around six months to build the capabilities to independently teach coding. This mode is for teachers who are new to teaching coding
- Mentor mode. A volunteer software engineer regularly meets online or in person to support a teacher. Typically, the volunteer doesn’t come to the classroom, and typically the partnership is for six months. This mode is for teachers who have some experience teaching coding
- Online mode. A teacher downloads and uses our materials, and receives occasional, ad hoc support through our online communities. We don’t provide a volunteer in this mode. This mode is for teachers who are experienced in teaching coding
In partner mode, we always start with our Year 7 programme. Once a teacher completes the Year 7 programme, we encourage them to continue in partner mode into our Year 8 programme. For the mentor and online modes, teachers are welcome to begin with Year 7 or Year 8.
We have a rural and remote version of the programme too.
Who is it for?
We work with secondary school teachers who want to develop their skills in teaching coding and want to build an effective Digital Technology programme at their school. We support teachers with any background, not just those who’ve taught digital technology previously.
Our programme only works when there is strong support from the school executive. We need a Principal who believes in teaching coding in their school, and a Deputy Principal (or another senior leader) who will work with us to get the subject timetabled in partnership with CS in Schools.
Teachers should have at least three years of teaching experience and at least one year of experience in their current school. Teachers with any background are welcome.
The programme is for Australian schools. We have extensive experience in Victorian schools, and we welcome schools and teachers from all over Australia.
How can a school get involved?
The next intake for CS in Schools is for the 2021 school year. If you’re interested in being involved, please contact us for an initial meeting by emailing Selina at firstname.lastname@example.org
We usually begin by helping schools add coding to their Year 7 offering, and then add Year 8 coding in the following year. If you’re interested in having CS in Schools support teachers at your school in 2021, you need to be able to:
- Find timetable space. Our Year 7 programme is approximately twenty hours in length and is typically taught at around two classroom hours per week for ten weeks. CS in Schools can share timetabling models that have worked for other schools, and help with ideas on how to create timetable space
- Find teachers. Find motivated teachers and give the teachers the opportunity to teach the subject at least twice within a calendar year. We then work with you to determine what support mode is right for each teacher. Note that teachers need to be able to attend a weekend training workshop. We encourage schools to put several teachers in the programme at the same time!
- Have student computers with web access. Ensure each student who will take the subject has access to a computer with a modern web browser, Internet access, and their own email address
If you’d like to learn more, please email email@example.com. CS in Schools is working with around 70 teachers in 2020, and we expect to be working at least that number in 2021.
Beyond the above requirements, CS in Schools will do all the work of providing lessons, a volunteer computing professional to coach and mentor the teacher, and resources to work with your school. The programme is free to schools and teachers.
Why did we create CS in Schools?
We established CS in Schools to help with the professional development of today’s teachers in Australian secondary schools, so that those teachers can help build digital technology capabilities in students. We are committed to investing in and developing new and existing digital technology teachers, and we work with teachers from all backgrounds.
What does CS in Schools provide?
CS in Schools provides to each teacher:
- Innovative lesson materials. The materials are open and free, perpetually available, and always up to date
- An expert volunteer software engineering professional to support the teacher in developing the skills needed to become confident in teaching coding
- Training through a weekend workshop, and ongoing online support through email and Slack to build community, engagement, and provide help to teachers
CS in Schools may be able to provide additional hardware and software where required. The programme runs at no cost to schools, and is funded by philanthropic support.
The teacher and school remain accountable for all aspects of teaching, student management, and learning outcomes.
Volunteers and Materials
We provide each school teacher with teaching materials, and with a volunteer if they’re participating in our Partner or Mentor modes.
Volunteers are professional software engineers who are giving something back by helping teachers develop their skills and helping them get started with coding in the classroom. Volunteers have basic training in classroom scenarios, and can explain coding concepts to students with support from the schools’ teachers. In almost every case, volunteers aren’t teachers. In our 2020 programme, the two companies with the most volunteers in the programme are SEEK and Carsales.
CS in Schools provides lesson materials that have been developed by qualified teachers. These materials are designed to help teachers who are learning to code to successfully, confidently, and competently deliver a fun, engaging, and industry-relevant programme. Volunteers are familiar with these materials.
The materials include lesson plans, slides, worksheets, online exercises, how-to videos, and other materials. All materials are provided under the relaxed Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, and schools are encouraged to use, adapt, and share the materials.
Before the year begins, we provide a free training workshop to both volunteers and teachers; this is compulsory for all participants in the programme.
When we’re providing a volunteer to support the teacher, CS in Schools requires that the same teacher repeat the subject at least twice in a calendar year. In most cases, the teacher will be supported by the same volunteer each time.
In the first delivery of the subject, we find that the volunteer typically takes a more active role in mentoring the teacher and explaining coding concepts to students. In the second delivery of the subject, it is expected that the volunteer will be focused on observing and providing coaching feedback to the teacher. Beyond the second delivery of the subject, CS in Schools does not usually provide in-class support.
Microcredential from RMIT University
Every teacher who completes the programme can optionally submit an assessment piece at the end of the programme and, on passing the assessment, receive the Coding for Teachers microcredential from RMIT University.
The credential is equivalent to one course in a Masters programme, and is resume-building evidence that a teacher can teach coding. For 2020, as with the rest of the programme, this is completely free.
Receiving the microcredential requires that the teacher submits a final assessment piece. This is necessary to receive the microcredential, but it isn’t a requirement of being a participant in CS in Schools. Teachers are welcome to be part of CS in Schools without completing the microcredential.
What do schools need to provide?
Beyond motivated teachers, students, and a scheduled class, we don’t need much to be successful.
Schools need to provide each student with a computer with a modern web browser such as Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Microsoft Edge. They must provide access to the Internet, and each student must have an email address (for sign-up to use web-based educational materials). It’s sometimes required that schools make changes to their firewall setup. For example, we’ve worked with schools that have a default configuration that doesn’t allow students to watch our lesson videos.
If the school is unable to provide computers, CS in Schools may be able to help.
Ready to go?
If you’re ready to work with CS in Schools, please contact us for an initial meeting by emailing Selina at firstname.lastname@example.org.