The State Board of Education heard public testimony on the revisions of the Technology Applications TEKS at their meeting on January 20th. Karen North addressed the board and asked them to consider adding the computer science tool, programming languages, to standards that list a set of resources.
She stated: Unless this is directly listed in the TEKS, vendors will not include the content in materials and teachers will not be given the professional development needed to understand the power of programming to bring rigor and relevance to math, science and communication as a 21st century tool for problem solving.
She gave three examples:
§126.6. (b) K-2(1)(C) Explore virtual environments, simulations, models and programming languages to enhance learning.
(4)(D) Collect, analyze, and represent data using tools such as word processing, spreadsheets, graphic organizers, charts, multimedia, simulations, models, and programming languages.
(6)(B) Use appropriate digital tools and resources for storage, access, file management, collaboration, and designing solutions to problems.
§126.7. (b) 3-5 (4)(B) Collect, analyze, and represent data to solve problems using tools such as word processing, databases, spreadsheets, graphic organizers, charts, multimedia, simulations, models and programming languages.
§126.14 (b) Grade 6, §126.14 (b) Grade 7, §126.14 (b) Grade 8 (4)(B) Plan and manage activities to develop a solution, design a computer program, or complete a project
After the public testimony ended, the board then began a discussion about the revisions and the testimony of the experts. The experts raised some concerns about the inclusion of “object oriented programming” and not other types of programming. Anita Givens indicated that teachers in the field would have an opportunity to provide feedback to the expert recommendations during the 30-day public comment period. There were also some questions regarding the dropping of several computer science courses from the first draft of the revisions. TEA staff indicated that the computer science team dropped the courses that had been recommended for the middle school level because the team writing for the middle school felt that scheduling in most Texas middle schools would prohibit additional courses. The Computer Science team also dropped some proposed courses at the high school level because they agreed those courses could be independent study courses instead.
The last issue discussed by the board concerned three courses that were being recommended by the revision committee to satisfy graduation credits in other subject areas. The committee recommended that Digital Art and Animation could substitute for an art credit. They also recommended that Digital Communications in the 21st Century and Web Communication could satisfy the credit for speech. Several board members took issue with this recommendation because they weren’t sure how students would get experience in speaking before an audience in these two computer courses. They requested TEA to “crosswalk” (compare) the courses to the approved speech credit so they could determine at their meeting in April rather these two courses do indeed meet the necessary requirements.
TEA staff indicated that the window for public comment should open around February 4th. When this window opens they are expecting teachers in the field to provide comments and even offer testimony at their meeting in April.
You can access the proposed Technology Applications TEKS now prior to the opening of the public comment period.