Arkansas was the first state in the nation to require that all public high schools offer Computer Scienece (CS) courses starting in the 2015-2016 school year led by Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson. TACT (Training Arkansas Computing Teachers) was a multifaceted program funded by the National Science Foundation to certify high school teachers to teach CS. TACT leveraged the UTeach CS Principles course that adheres to the AP Computer Science Principles curriculum framework to train a total of 64 teachers from 2016 until 2018. Because of TACT, AP Computer Science Principles was added to the list of approved courses for the 2016-2017 school year in the State of Arkansas that satisfy the governor’s initiative to have computing classes in every high school. These 64 teachers represented 48 different schools from the Northwest, Central, Southwest, and Northeast areas of the State of Arkansas. In addition, TACT developed and improved the TACT CS Boot Camp course designed to cover computer science topics that are typically covered in licensure exams for high school teachers.
TACT obtained the following objectives:
- Developed a CS Principles course for Arkansas using UTeach’s Thriving in Our Digital World program (based on CS10K principles);
- Developed a dual-track program (one for in-service and one for pre-service teachers) that prepared these teachers to be certified to teach computer science at Arkansas high schools;
- Recruited Arkansas in-service teachers to the CS Principles courses offered either though APSI and pre-service teachers into the UATeach CS track;
- Conducted CS Principles courses through APSI for in-service teachers;
- Provided (online and face-to-face) support to teachers who completed the CS Principles instruction and were currently teaching CS Principles in Arkansas high schools.
Computer Science Educational Materials
The educational materials are being provided for teachers that are teaching computer science. They are arranged based upon the AP Computer Science Principles course framework that is equivalent to a first-semester introductory college course. This framework defines Computational Thinking Practices and seven Big Ideas.
Computational Thinking Practices:
- Creating Computational Artifacts
- Analyzing problems and artifacts
- Communicating and Collaborating
- Data and Information
- The Internet
- Global Impact
Below are the locations of schools that have TACT-trained teachers.