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How to Teach Computer Science

A teacher with two of his young students exploring a lesson in computer science.As computer science becomes more important in K-12 education, many teachers must deliver a course without formal training. Online certificate programs address that issue by educating teachers on how to teach computer science at the highest level.

Some states now encourage—and in some cases, require--teachers to earn supplementary certifications for teaching computer science. For example, California now allows teachers to earn a Supplementary Authorization in Computer Science Education to bolster their knowledge in computer science. Courses offered by Fresno Pacific University meet the California standards outlined in the new regulations. They also meet the standards required to earn Ohio computer science licensure and the Teaching Endorsement in Computer Science required in Illinois.

Fresno Pacific offers these courses through its Computer Science Authorization and Licensure program.

The Importance of Teaching Computer Science

States have made these changes because teaching computer science is critical in today’s schools. Computer science now touches every phase of life, from using GPS to navigate on a road trip to paying for goods and services through online apps. It also plays a part in almost every career field.

Students benefit by learning the adaptable skills and mental dexterity needed to use tech tools and excel in this digital environment. Learning computer science strengthens students’ computer literacy and improves critical thinking skills, allowing them to understand and translate complex ideas into action in the digital world.

When teachers have the authorization or licensure required to teach computer science, they help students succeed in their lives and careers.

States Have Changed Approach to Computer Science

California formalized an expanded process in 2016 that updated state regulations governing how teachers earn authorization to teach computer science. The updates include changes to content requirements, many of which had been in place since the late 1970s. State leaders made the shift because less than 40% of schools in California taught computer science classes. FPU specifically designed its program to meet these new standards.

In Ohio, new rules that went into effect July 1, 2021, require teachers to either hold a full computer science license or earn a computer technology endorsement and successfully pass the computer science Ohio Assessments for Educators (OAE) exam. They may hold a full teaching license in any area and add computer science through a supplemental pathway.

In Illinois, teachers can earn a computer science endorsement by completing 18 hours of credit on computer science coursework and passing a content exam.

Fresno Pacific Computer Science Courses

Fresno Pacific University offers online supplementary authorization courses that make it easier for teachers to fit earning professional credits into their busy schedules. Teachers can complete the self-paced Supplementary Authorization Computer Science Education courses in as little as four weeks, but may also take as long as one year.

Highly qualified instructors with experience in computer science teach the courses. Fresno Pacific designed the graduate-level courses specifically for single and multi-subject teachers who want to integrate computer science principles into their classrooms. Fresno provides a transcript of completion that the teacher provides to their respective state. 

The Introductory Supplementary Authorization or Computer Science Licensure includes four courses:

  • Information Technology Basics
  • Computational Thinking
  • Computing Practices and Programming
  • Impacts and Ethics of Computing

The Specific Supplementary Authorization or Computer Science Licensure includes those four courses, plus a course in data structures and software engineering. 

For teachers who need specific authorization or licensure to demonstrate they have mastered how to teach computer science, Fresno Pacific University professional development courses provide a key step toward achieving their goal.