Dr. Elvage Girard Murphy spent many years as a practicing lawyer and professor of legal studies before turning to the new challenge of teaching middle school students. In addition to his position as digital literacy teacher at Ten Oaks Middle School in Myrtle Beach, SC, he is a lead technology teacher for the Horry County School District.

Upon his retirement from the practice of law, Dr. Murphy decided to channel his skills into a new career, teaching middle school children and preparing them to make the successful transition into adulthood. He rose to the challenge of teaching website design and computer programming with limited familiarity in the field. Now he uses the example of his own successful transition into education to inspire students to believe in their own abilities to excel in computer science and related fields.

Dr. Murphy  aims to “create classrooms where the engagement among students and the expression of ideas are limitless.” Computer science exists to solve problems big and small, and Dr. Murphy’s teaching practice offers his students the access and opportunities they need to make this discipline their own. As they grow in intellectual ability, proficiency, and creativity, his students discover their own potential to identify and solve problems within their own communities.

Dr. Elvage Girard Murphy Equity Fellow Content Insta

This potential exists within every student, and Dr. Murphy cares deeply about ensuring that all students find a seat at the table. Throughout his career, he has made a point of using inclusive language and inviting students from marginalized groups to take on leadership positions in small group assignments in the classroom. With instructions for how to help their groups reach their goals, students receive an objective measure of their performance as leaders, empowering them to take on leadership positions again in the future.

As a CSTA Equity Fellow, Dr. Murphy  is eager to expand his knowledge of computer science and serve as a professional development resource to other teachers hoping to transition to teaching computer science, just as Dr. Murphy did. “Experienced teachers have helped inspire and equip me with the tools to successfully make the transition [into computer science teaching],” Dr. Murphy says. He’s eager to pay it forward to a new generation of computer science teachers.

One specific project that Dr. Murphy hopes to pursue in his time as an Equity Fellow is the development of policies around the use of AI in schools. Rather than issuing a blanket ban on the use of ChatGPT, Dr. Murphy believes that school officials should commit to working with their teachers to develop a fluid policy for using AI tools, taking into account their districts’ unique challenges and contexts. He’s eager to work with his cohort to learn more about the available AI tools and how they should be integrated into computer science course content.

Dr. Murphy says, “Equity helps students and teachers understand the world in which we live is bigger than our individual desires and needs.”