Blog Post

COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT: YOLANDA PAYNE

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Each month, we highlight a member of the CS for All Teachers community.

Yolanda Payne

Yolanda Payne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Name: 

Yolanda Payne

Occupation: 

Fellow, Constellations Center for Equity in Computing

Workplace: Georgia Tech

Years in education: 21

Years teaching computer science: 6
 

TEACHING COMPUTER SCIENCE (CS)

What interests you about CS?

The creativity that can be unleashed when you have command of concepts in CS

How did you start teaching CS? Do you have a background in CS?

I have always incorporated instructional technology into my curriculum. The CS bug bit after attending workshops by Code.org and Raspberry Pi. Interestingly enough, I took only one CS class before turning to instructional technology.

How have your CS students inspired you? What is your favorite CS project you have completed with your students?

My middle school CS students amaze me at how much they know. I was fortunate enough to teach Language Arts, we started working on block coding and they needed more! My favorite two CS projects were a smart mirror and a surveillance system set up by two of my students when they were 7th graders. We all learned a lot from those projects!

How do you recruit students into your CS classes?

They were voluntold--I was actually teaching language arts and went to a Code.org workshop. As I was exploring the curriculum, I realized that I could integrate aspects of CS into what I was teaching. From there, we proceeded to form an after-school/weekend club and a CS elective was then introduced.

 

CS EDUCATION COMMUNITY

How do you get other teachers, administrators, and community members excited about CS?

By sharing my non-traditional route. I was using technology for everyday applications of teaching, but not really engaging the students. Once I connected physical computing to my curriculum, my students and I were hooked. I have found that physical computing is great route to engagement.

What excites you most about the current state of CS education in the US?

Despite the proliferation of computers in daily life, in some areas, we are still in the genesis stages of CS in education. I think that if we do this right, we can have long-term impacts on multiple aspects of society. By showing students that they can be producers not just consumers of technology--we can open up possibilities.

What do you enjoy most about participating in CS for All Teachers?

That it is there when I need it. I search the site and find information that I need as I need it. If its not there, I can pose questions.

Besides the CS for All Teachers community of practice, what is your favorite CS tool or resource?

1. Raspberry Pi
2. Microbit
3. MakeCode
4. EarSketch

What is the biggest piece of advice you would give to potential CS educators?

Just try it!

 

TELL US MORE!

What is your proudest professional accomplishment?

Engaging students who didn't think that computer science was for them--and finding out that they were actually excellent at it.