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Georgia Tech Turns ­nemployed Tech Workers Into Computing Teachers

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Through a recent $2.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation, the Georgia Tech College of Computing will mitigate the stress of joblessness for unemployed information technology (IT) professionals over the next three years. The project, titled Operation Reboot, will transform an initial set of 30 IT workers in Georgia into high school computing teachers. The initiative began September 1.

Operation Reboot will combine Georgia Tech's innovative high school computing teacher training program and the successful Georgia Teacher Alternative Preparation Program (GaTAPP) to pair an IT worker with an existing computing teacher. They will co-teach at least two computing classes for one year, allowing the IT professional to learn the ins and outs of a classroom and the teacher to get an education in IT. Simultaneously, the IT worker will receive an initial teaching certificate and a computer science endorsement, a special area of expertise for teachers to add on to their certification.

"A teacher's motivation, self efficacy, job satisfaction and commitment to teaching are closely linked with their professional identity," says Barbara Ericson, Director of Computing Outreach at the College of Computing and principal investigator for Operation Reboot. "Through the teacher workshops at Georgia Tech, courses needed for certification, co-teaching and mentoring we will transform these IT worker's identity into that of a computing teacher."

Operation Reboot ultimately aims to improve the computing education of 4,600 students over the next three years by increasing the number of well trained computing teachers and the number of computing classes being offered. By creating highly engaging curricular materials, improving the content and educational knowledge of computing teachers, Georgia Tech expects the number of students receiving a computing education to increase by at least 30 percent. This is especially important for the economy and students interested in computing careers, as jobs in the field are expected to be some of the fastest growing through 2016.

Unmet Demand

With computing a critical component of every American business, the need for innovative, skilled IT professionals is more vital than ever. The demand for IT professionals, as predicted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is not currently being met by computer science enrollments in American universities and the United States still faces a tough challenge in remaining competitive in overall science and technology education.

Georgia Tech will publish results of the project and share materials with other states to serve as a model on how to successfully transform unemployed IT workers into high school computing teachers.


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