The College of Staten Island is the first CUNY institution to be selected for the 2024-2026 Scratch Education Collaborative Cohort – a two-year organizational partnership program with the MIT Scratch Foundation, which will provide professional development for faculty, as well as potential grant opportunities and international collaborations, facilitated by the MIT Scratch Foundation.

Commenting on CSI’s selection, Ting Yuan, Assistant Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at CSI, said, “SEC signifies an affirming milestone for the next stage of faculty work in Computing Integration in Teacher Education (CITE) at CSI. Being the first CUNY campus to participate in the SEC cohort, we are honored and proud of the teaching and research work that the faculty team has been dedicated to. We are also thankful for the CUNY CITE Initiative, which has greatly supported our ongoing teaching innovations at CSI.”

Yuan added that during the finalist interview with the Scratch Foundation, she teamed up with Interim Dean of the School of Education Burnett Joiner and Chair of the Department of Education Deborah DeSimone to provide dynamic examples of work completed by the CITE faculty team at CSI. Yuan explained that during that final interview, “we were able to present shared values and visions with the Foundation in cultivating the next generation of teachers as tinkers, makers, and critical curriculum enactors. Further, as a finalist, representing CSI, we stood out in engaging and mentoring undergraduate preservice teachers through local and national conferences.” For example, Yuan and her colleagues have actively engaged CSI undergraduates Bayan Khalil and Rolla Khass as co-presenters in the recent 2024 CUNY Education Conference and the upcoming 2024 Scratch Conference.

Yuan explained that the values shared between CSI faculty and the Foundation include the view of “technology as one of the hands-on materials that teachers can use to engage children in creative learning in the contemporary digital landscape. It means that technology is not the panacea for education but is a tool, just like any hands-on materials, that can open up potential opportunities for creative learning. Meanwhile, we value unplugged computational thinking practices for teaching and learning. Such practices ensure that children from less resourceful school/family settings can have access to equitable creative computing.”

Looking to what CSI participants hope to gain from the two-year program, Yuan stated that “with my colleagues, I hope to utilize the incoming resources and opportunities facilitated by the Scratch Foundation and MIT Media Lab to further elevate the CSI teacher education programs toward creative teaching and learning across disciplines.”

CSI’s participation in the SEC Cohort is scheduled to begin on July 9, 2024.

By Terry Mares