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TECt Grant Program

UNF, in partnership with Duval County Public Schools (DCPS), is implementing the Teaching Educators Computational Thinking (TECt) project, a Researcher-Practitioner Partnership (RPP) funded through the National Science Foundation's Computer Science for All grant program.

TECt helps secondary teachers foster computational thinking in computer science. The program builds on existing partnerships to provide professional development and coursework designed to equip high school teachers to teach computer science. This RPP engages multiple partners from UNF, DCPS, Northeast Florida STEM2 Hub-a regional advocacy group with community and industry leaders.


TECt will increase the availability of qualified computer science teachers and improve access to computer science instruction for traditionally underserved and underrepresented students by:

  • increasing the number of certified DCPS computer science teachers;
  • developing a curriculum that will prepare and support teachers to teach rigorous computer science courses;
  • developing teacher-leaders prepared to serve as point people to support other computer science teachers; and
  • partnering with local and regional business and non-profits to support activities and foster sustainability of the project.

Research Findings and Evaluations

The TECt logic model is built on the following principles:

  • Foster computational thinking as a means to deeper understanding of computer science (Wing, 2006).
  • Develop understanding of computer science content, general pedagogy, and pedagogical content knowledge (Magnusson, Krajcik, Borko, 1999).
  • Conduct ongoing professional development experiences that are iterative, build relationships, and foster teacher reflection and growth.

TECt Research Model

1 TECt Processes, Activities and Project Implementation

Processes/Activities Outputs
  • Teachers are recruited from across DCPS
  • 30 teachers (15 per cohort) complete four 3-credit hour courses to earn CS Certification
  • Teachers are engaged in face-to-face and virtual/online training
  • In year two, 5 teachers from Cohort 1 serve as peer mentors for Cohort 2
  • Expand partnership with DCPS schools/teachers
  • Increased teacher knowledge of CS/computational thinking
  • Increased rates of CS Certification
  • Enhanced CS course offerings in high-need schools
  • CS concepts integrated into non-CS courses

2 Intermediate Outcomes (tested as mediators)

  • Recruitment of teachers in CS-STEM courses in high-needs schools
  • Recruitment of women, persons with disabilities and underrepresented populations to teach CS-STEM courses
  • Educator participation in STEM conferences
  • Collaboration between CS teachers and their non-CS peers
  • Engagement and motivation of teachers of CS courses
  • Teacher Self-Efficacy for teaching CS courses
  • Student enrollment in CS courses
  • Enrollment of women, persons with disabilities and underrepresented populations to teach CS-STEM courses

3 Performance Outcomes

Gains in Teacher Gains in Student
  • Application of research in the classroom
  • Instructional Practice effectiveness
  • Engagement and motivation
  • Retention in STEM/CS courses
  • Retention of underrepresented individuals
  • Engagement in STEM and CS
  • Successful CS course completion
  • Achievement in STEM
  • Achievement of underrepresented individuals

Upcoming Workshops

Each semester TECt teachers participate in professional development activities designed to support:

  • Identification of beliefs about effective instructional practice and their influence on instructional decisions
  • Lesson design and implementation
  • Collegial coaching strategies

Summer opportunities will provide industry-based, job-embedded experiences such job-shadowing, interviews, and tours of area technology industry businesses.

Community Partners/ Advisory Board

We are grateful to the National Science Foundation for funding TECt and the Researcher-Practitioner Partners that make the program possible. Representing various disciplines and perspectives, the TECt RRP works together to plan, develop, and implement professional learning intended to build content and pedagogical skills of high school computer science teachers in Duval County Public Schools.

TECt Advisory Board:

  • Dr. Brian Zoellner, Executive Director, Northeast Florida Center for STEM Education (NEFSTEM), Associate Professor, Secondary Science Education
  • Dr. William Klostermeyer, Dean, Professor, College of Computing, Engineering, & Construction
  • Dr. Terrie Galanti, Assistant Professor, Secondary Mathematics and STEM Integration/Computational Thinking
  • Khwaja Shaik, IBM Thought Leader, Member - IBM Academy of Technology, IBM Senior Inventor, IBM Global Markets
  • Dr. Kathleen Schofield, Executive Director, Northeast Florida Regional STEM2 Hub
  • Dr. Natalie Wright, President, CIC Planning Group
  • Chuck Buresch, Chief Executive Officer, CIC Planning Group
  • Winnifred Harvey, Duval County Public Schools, Specialist, Career & Technical Education, Computer Science, Technology, and STEM

Aligned with UNF's commitment to innovation and interdisciplinary collaboration, the Northeast Florida Center for STEM Education, housed in the COEHS, serves as a catalyst for engaging community and industry experts in program development, curricula design, and professional development support. Additionally, the STEM2 Hub, an innovative regional advocacy group, engages with the community to align TECt with industry leaders for long term project sustainability. Finally, the teachers are the project's most essential partners.