TAF TSP Program Thrives Virtually During End of School Year
Shifting learning online has been difficult, and that’s an understatement for any teacher to hear. A program we built in collaboration with Amazon, The TAF Teacher Scientist Partnership (TSP) was established to bring professional support to teachers and supplement student curriculum with industry experience. Our traditional approach was for volunteer professionals to meet with students every week.
Then, when the COVID-19 crisis struck, all learning suddenly had to be broken by distance. Students had already built up their skills in a variety of practices including Web Development, Game Development, AI/Machine Learning, and UX/UI Design – we weren’t going to let their progress go to waste. When schools closed, we immediately shifted to continuing student connection virtually, prioritizing personal check-ins and student emotional health. Gradually, students were ready to hop back in to finish their projects, a task that provided the opportunity to showcase their final projects online with the Amazon Design Team. The TSP Program culminated for 2020 with a successful virtual expo where students demonstrated their work through building complex web applications, pages, and intricate designs.
“Though the content was taught differently and presented differently, the learning and engagement of the students remained at a high level, making this virtual learning a success!”
Michelle Oliver, TAF TSP Program Manager
The biggest highlight of the program was realized when checking in with the students after the event. Ninety-six percent of students stated they gained a significant understanding of coding, and nearly 50% stated they could ‘see themselves using computer science towards their future degree or career.’*
The continued success of the program in previous years has also led us to evolve it; this year we piloted the addition of AI and Machine Learning into the program, and began developing a custom CS program to be offered to all students in 6th – 12th grades rooted in an equity-based framework.
The TAF TSP program is one of the many approaches TAF brings to classrooms as an in-depth opportunity to create, collaborate, discover, and learn. An opportunity that connects curriculum to industry, an opportunity built on the foundation that any student can succeed with the support they need.
*Survey results from TAF end of year reports 2020
Student project showcased virtually