The National Science Foundation has awarded nearly $1 million to the University of Wyoming (UW) to support integration of computer science education in K-8 classrooms and public libraries across the state.
A mandate to teach computer science in Wyoming's K-12 schools by 2022 was passed by the state legislature in 2018.
The grant, known as Wyoming's Schools and Libraries Integrating Computer Science Education (WySLICE), will support a partnership between multiple entities on campus, Wyoming Libraries, the Wyoming Department of Education, and the Wyoming Professional Teaching Standards Board.
"Our objective is for K-8 teachers to not have yet another thing to teach but instead to find ways to integrate computer science, computational thinking, into their already existing classes and curriculum," Mike Borowczak, a University of Wyoming assistant professor of computer science, said.
Borowczak led the grant application and will be in charge of research on the project.
"Instead of giving them a prepackaged curriculum, we are looking to give them the tools needed to look at computer science concepts and see how they map and could be integrated in a way that when the grant isn't around, they'd still be able to do this process to take this concept and map it into their existing classes," he said.
Public libraries across Wyoming will also have resources and activities available for check out that will parallel the concepts being taught in the classroom
"It's a needed 21st Century skill. Not just the programming - the programming is one thing - but really understanding the parts and pieces behind what the software is doing," Borowczak said.
WySLICE will be holding multiple professional development events during the summers. By the end of the three-year grant, they will have worked with over 150 teachers and librarians across the state.