Georgia Tech to Transform Unemployed Technology Workers into High School Computing Teachers

September 16, 2009

College of Computing Receives $2.5 Million for Operation Reboot

ATLANTA (September 17, 2009)— In today's economy, unemployment rates have spiked and out-of-work professionals are forced to either join the thousands looking for jobs or seek new career paths.  Through a recent $2.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation, the Georgia Tech College of Computing will mitigate the stress of joblessness for unemployed information technology (IT) professionals over the next three years. Operation Reboot, as the project is aptly titled, will transform an initial set of 30 IT workers in Georgia into high school computing teachers. The initiative began September 1.

Operation Reboot will combine Georgia Tech's innovative high school computing teacher training program and the successful Georgia Teacher Alternative Preparation Program (GaTAPP) to pair an IT worker with an existing computing teacher. They will co-teach at least two computing classes for one year, allowing the IT professional to learn the ins and outs of a classroom and the teacher to get an education in IT. Simultaneously, the IT worker will receive an initial teaching certificate and a computer science endorsement, a special area of expertise for teachers to add on to their certification. 

"A teacher's motivation, self efficacy, job satisfaction and commitment to teaching are closely linked with their professional identity," Barbara Ericson, Director of Computing Outreach at the College of Computing and principal investigator for Operation Reboot, said.  "Through the teacher workshops at Georgia Tech, courses needed for certification, co-teaching and mentoring we will transform these IT worker's identity into that of a computing teacher."

Operation Reboot ultimately aims to improve the computing education of 4,600 students over the next three years by increasing the number of well trained computing teachers and the number of computing classes being offered. By creating highly engaging curricular materials, improving the content and educational knowledge of computing teachers, Georgia Tech expects the number of students receiving a computing education to increase by at least 30 percent. This is especially important for the economy and students interested in computing careers, as jobs in the field are expected to be some of the fastest growing through 2016.

With computing a critical component of every American business, the need for innovative, skilled IT professionals is more vital than ever. The demand for IT professionals, as predicted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is not currently being met by computer science enrollments in American universities and the United States still faces a tough challenge in remaining competitive in overall science and technology education.

Georgia Tech will publish results of the project and share materials with other states to serve as a model on how to successfully transform unemployed IT workers into high school computing teachers.

About the Georgia Tech College of Computing

The Georgia Tech College of Computing is a national leader in the creation of real-world computing breakthroughs that drive social and scientific progress. With its graduate program ranked 9th nationally by U.S. News and World Report, the College's unconventional approach to education is defining the new face of computing by expanding the horizons of traditional computer science students through interdisciplinary collaboration and a focus on human centered solutions. For more information about the Georgia Tech College of Computing, its academic divisions and research centers, please visit http://www.cc.gatech.edu.

For more information, contact:

Stefany Wilson
Georgia Tech College of Computing
404.894.7253
stefany [at] cc [dot] gatech [dot] edu