Monday, March 5
2:45 PM-3:45 PM
William Barton

How to Organize a Professional Development Workshop to Train Teachers to Attract Girls into High School Computer Science Classes

Roundtable ID: 35280
  1. aaa
    Joanne McGrath Cohoon
    University of Virginia
  2. aaa
    Lecia Barker
    University of Texas
  3. James Cohoon
    University of Virginia

Abstract: Elective computing courses such as computer science are largely populated by boys. This is one of the reasons women continue to be underrepresented in lucrative technical careers. While teachers have access to professional development for content and inclusive pedagogy, they rarely receive instruction on how to bring more girls and minority students into their classes. This tutorial is a train-the-trainer approach: it offers guidance and resources for organizers of professional development workshops for high school computing teachers to attract more and diverse students to their classes. Through presentation, discussion, and professional quality materials from the National Center for Women & Information Technology, attendees will learn to plan and implement workshops that enable teachers to succeed in recruiting more students, more girls, and more minority students into their high school computing classes.


The proposed tutorial will enable participants to hold their own workshops for training teachers. As a result of attending the tutorial, participants will understand how to set goals, create budgets and seek funding, advertise to their target audience, select participants for their workshop, coordinate logistics of holding a workshop, create or adopt/adapt content, and conduct evaluation and followup for their workshop. Much of the workshop will focus on content from three sample presentations – one on gender and computing, one on messages for recruiting more and diverse students, and one on content and pedagogy that appeals to a broad range of students in introductory programming courses. Participants will be provided with free resources from the National Center for Women & Information Technology. These resources include: Talking Points cards for adults who want to explain to girls the benefits of a computing career; a workbook for strategic planning recruitment efforts; and practice sheets that summarize research on inclusive pedagogy, intentional role modeling, and active recruiting, and provide case studies on successfully implemented examples of each.

Topical Outline

The proposed tutorial covers the following topics: • The importance of training teachers to attract girls into their elective computing courses (meet the needs of the nation, community, discipline, students, and teachers to acquire the 21st century skills necessary for innovation and translates to high-paying, in-demand jobs). • Setting workshop goals (Attract more and diverse students to regular computing classes, not a special environment for girls; reform the existing special environment for certain boys; enhance pedagogy; develop a path to college computing majors; create teacher community and peer support) • Budgeting and funding (variable, depending on number of days for the workshop; all budget items covered, based on existing model) • Advertising (send announcements to relevant lists, existing scripts to adapt, other ways of reaching target audience) • Selecting participants (those who are teaching genuine technical skills and theory, not just literacy or applications; methods of gathering baseline data from participants) • Coordinating logistics (housing, food, transportation & parking info, meeting rooms; tips) • Creating or adopting content (daily elements: welcome; gender & computing; pedagogy for intro computer science courses, including pair programming; research topics & other new developments in computing; recruiting underrepresented students; creative lessons, including CS Unplugged; use teachers’ ideas and comments as much as possible) • Workshop methods (interactive, hands-on, treat teachers as honored guests, promote community, house teachers together and near workshop location; take advantage of the location) • Sample content (gender and computing, demand for IT professionals, successful recruiting methods) • Evaluation and follow-up (methods, existing instruments)


Computing and preservice faculty and others who interested in offering workshops for high school computing teacher professional development, particularly for technical computing (e.g., computer science), game design, etc.

Experience Level



Joanne McGrath Cohoon is an Associate Professor of Science, Technology, and Society at the University of Virginia and Senior Research Scientist for the National Center for Women & Information Technology. Her research is reported in scholarly journals and an award-winning book from MIT Press – Women and Information Technology, Research on Underrepresentation. Cohoon translates, applies, disseminates, and evaluates research findings about gender, education, technology, organizations, and inequality. She also helps to train and advise professional consultants working to create measurable improvements in women's participation in undergraduate computing. Lecia Barker is a Research Associate Professor at the School of Information at the University of Texas at Austin and Senior Research Scientist for the National Center for Women & Information Technology. She leads research and evaluation projects investigating underrepresentation of women and minorities in computing education and uses of information technologies in education. Barker has authored numerous academic papers and applied research resources. She also leads many workshops on practices related to retaining and recruiting undergraduates and high school students in computing. James P. Cohoon is a Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Virginia. He has a long and sustained history of developing pedagogy, practice, and materials for assisting all students to successfully master introductory computer science curriculum. He is co-winner of the 2008 IEEE Computer Society Taylor L. Booth Education Award, the society’s highest educational recognition. His textbooks are widely recognized for their diverse collection of engaging examples. His introductory course for inexperienced students has an average major attraction rate that is higher than that of the standard sections.
No presider for this session.


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