Nearly one in four K-12 computer science teachers in the U.S. report a lack of subject expertise and 20% point to a lack of curricular resources as one barrier to advancing the discipline (Koshy et al., 2021). Ongoing professional learning and support as prioritized in California’s CS standards implementation plan is amplified through robust Open Education Resources (OER) that provide classroom-tested materials, sample projects, workshops, Advanced Placement course kits and coaching to boost educators’ confidence and engage learners.
Through a CA K-12 Strong Workforce Program grant, Livable Wage Jobs (LWJ) and Downey Unified School District are developing OER for Career Technical Education teachers on OER4CTE.org with current content tailored to Mathematics for Game Developers and (in progress) Year 1 C# and Unity and Year 2 C++ and Unreal Engine. Open-Source Downey positions CTE faculty as experts in emerging sectors who share course materials and strategies to benefit teachers and underserved students statewide. The project is training faculty who currently teach in technology-heavy CTE pathways (e.g., Software & Systems Development, Film/Multimedia Production, Engineering Design) and a developing Gaming pathway as open source content providers.
Materials are accessible and free, and tied to rigorous courses that meet a-g requirements. In progress are Kits for AP Seminar, AP Research, Product Development internships and workshops, and WBL for teachers, including guides, sample projects, and assessments. OER4CTE.org supports discussion forums for teacher implementation, analytics, and continuous content improvement. Open-Source Downey aligns to the state’s vision to explore integration potential between CTE model curriculum standards in the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) sector and CS standards, leveraging existing structures and building capacity in computing instruction.
Examples in progress include OER content for a Game Design and Programming pathway to include an industry major project that demonstrates portfolio-level skills for job entry or college transfer; videos and text materials for teacher professional learning to confidently teach the pathway; accessibility and underserved student materials review; college articulation; and developing online space for collaborative contributions and continuous improvement. Through OER, students benefit from shared resources for industry certification practice testing and 3rd-party credentials. Materials created through Open-Source Downey will obtain Creative Commons licensing for statewide adoption as courses/projects/supplemental materials.