David Lockett shares his experiences as an educator and involvement as a NASA Ambassador program participant.
In January, our Membership Experience Manager spoke with David Lockett, a new CSTA+ member, about his experiences as an educator and involvement as a NASA Ambassador program participant. He is a STEM/IT/robotics teacher in Florida and was part of the winning team in the NASA Space Apps Challenge in Orlando. We talked to him as he was on a break from sessions at the Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC).
Can you talk about the conference you are at today?
This is my third or fourth year attending the FETC conference in Miami, Florida, and it’s a great way to start a new year. FETC presents new ideas to engage students and implement computer science in the classroom, as well as PD for teachers. I leave this conference feeling inspired by the workshops and interactions I have.
Can you talk about your background as a CS teacher?
I have been teaching ten plus years, and currently teach Computer Science, IT, and Robotics. Starting out, my focus was on math and science, and as time progressed, I wanted to focus on opportunities that could provide a change in the classroom, to support students that wanted to go beyond the presented curriculum. From there I became interested in STEM and coding and how I could use them to create and support relationships in the classroom. As an educator, you need to stay ahead of the trends in pedagogy and look for tools to give your students. You want to spark the minds of students, and I always want them and myself to be inspired. I want to incorporate more tech skills to further enhance the learning experience in the classroom, and support CS in all types of the curriculum to inspire learning.
Can you talk about the current grade levels you teach and the support from your district?
Currently, I teach 6th, 7th, and 8th grade, and find it easy to find resources and integrate tools for this age group. The younger the students are, the more interested they seem to be in computer science and open to opportunities to pique their interest and curiosity. Within my district, it’s extremely supportive of CS, where we want to provide access and opportunities so students come away with something different that they can integrate with their journey. I have seen students who are about to graduate and comment that they are thankful I made the investment to showcase that CS was essential. These students have an understanding of how important their studies as they are now looking to get their IT certifications.
What resources have you found most helpful for this age group (6-8)?
Tynker, Code.org, Python, CreateMouse, Tinkercad, Microsoft MakeCode, Swift Playgrounds
Many members live in school districts where they are the only CS teacher, and may not have the support or resources from their district. What advice do you have for them?
Start with yourself. Attend local workshops, or hold workshops to get information out there. Understand the facts about computer science and how necessary it is for students today. Learn how to integrate hands-on activity in the classroom. I make my voice known with senators and policymakers to advocate that CS is an essential literacy for all students.
What are you most excited about as an educator?
Connecting CS and real-life challenges like climate change into the classroom.