EDMOND, OKLA. – Oklahoma Christian University (OC) and BloomBoard announced the availability of their first two fully accredited master’s degrees, Technology & Computer Science Education (TCS) and Curriculum & Instruction for K-12 educators at the national scale. These innovative programs are supported by BloomBoard’s micro-certificate-based learning approach.
Districts across the country strive to provide high-quality technology and computer education at all levels. A shortage of qualified teachers is slowing down these plans. This master’s program allows districts to support and promote their own teachers who wish to gain expertise in these teaching areas.
“Our collaborative partnership with BloomBoard allows us to offer school districts a meaningful way to develop and retain teachers,” said John deSteiguer, president of Oklahoma Christian University.
“Giving educators access to highly relevant, higher-level education at an affordable price also fulfills the mission to serve more students with quality instruction in critical areas of technology and computing.”
The online program focuses on the foundations of computer science and computational thinking across all content areas. Initially, the program will offer a specialization in computer science education from K-8. Concentrations in Grades 6-12 Computer Science Education, STEM Education, and Robotics are being developed. All courses are aligned with the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) Standards and ISTE Standards for Computer Science Educators.
This program’s micro-certificate-based learning approach differs from most traditional graduate programs because teachers learn by doing in their own classroom practices, working with their own students. Teachers can put their new knowledge into practice immediately as they demonstrate their skills to earn the micro-certificates. Because micro-degrees are equivalent to semester hours of college-level credits, teachers can move up their district’s salary scale as they progress through these programs. By funding these programs, districts show how much they value the quality and professionalism of trained educators, creating the kind of environment where top talent thrives.
Research suggests that integrating computer science into K-12 education can help students better prepare for life after graduation. STEM graduates can earn 40% more than the typical college graduate.
However, access to computer education remains restricted throughout the country. Twenty-three states have adopted a policy to give all high school students access to computer science courses, and of those, only 11 states offer access to all K-12 students. . Additionally, less than 20% of graduates with a bachelor’s degree in computer science are women, while 10.1% are Latino and 8.9% are black. Exposing students to computing before college is a step that could help diversify STEM professions.
“Computer science education should not be a luxury, but an essential part of every school district’s plan to prepare all students for the job market,” said Pat Yongpradit, director of studies for Code.org. “By teaching these skills to students, schools can work to fill a shortage of graduates and IT workers, increase the profession’s focus on equity, and develop the skills expected of workers in almost any profession.”
“Our partnership with Oklahoma Christian is an exciting opportunity to develop educators and have a unique impact on students while addressing a broader economic need,” said Sanford Kenyon, CEO of BloomBoard.
“Better access to technology and computer science education in K-12 schools should facilitate a more diverse and skilled workforce. To get to this point, we must start by training teachers.
The master’s program is made up of ten micro-title-based courses (30 credit hours). Schools and school districts in the United States can take advantage of federal relief funds to pay for teacher registration. Oklahoma Christian University now welcomes national applications for the program.
Oklahoma Christian University is a higher learning community that transforms lives for Christian faith, scholarship and service. OC is defined by the collective impact of many incredible individuals. OC students learn alongside masterful professors and world-class experts. They are Oxford-trained theologians, NASA scientists and best-selling authors. OC is driven by missions – not just majors and believes that everyone matters to this world.
BloomBoard offers micro-degree advancement pathways for educators to significantly enhance their teaching practice and accelerate both their careers and earnings. Their learning-by-doing process allows teachers to demonstrate their abilities within their own classroom practices. BloomBoard partners with states, universities, and districts to create planned roadmaps to advance educators based on uniquely identified needs and gaps in a system. They also offer programs directly to teachers, including the National Council pre-candidate program.
Featured Image: Adam Winger, Unsplash.