Upcoming Sessions

All ECS sessions have ended.

Please contact your local hub to find out about future plans.


Which teachers are eligible to teach this course in Massachusetts?

Massachusetts adopted standards for Digital Literacy and Computer Science in June 2016 (http://www.doe.mass.edu/frameworks/dlcs.pdf) but has not yet finalized licensure or another credential for teachers of computer science. Any teacher qualified to teach a high school course in a Massachusetts school district and who participates in ECS professional development is eligible to teach ECS. Teachers with background in computer science, math, science, or IT are logical choices, but ECS has been taught by ESL, art, and other teachers.

Can a teacher with no technology or computer science background or experience prepare and teach ECS?

Yes, given they participate in all professional development, which includes an ongoing community for support and continued preparation.

Is graduate credit offered for the PD?

Yes. Participating teachers may enroll in a 3-credit graduate course through UMass Boston at an additional cost. We also offer Professional Development Points.

How long is the professional development?

The entire professional development program totals up to 84 hours, as follows:

  • Up to 2 hours online preparation (summer) (subject to availability)
  • 5 days in-person workshop (summer)
  • 4 one-day Saturday follow-up sessions (Sept., Nov., Feb., April)
  • Up to 10 one-hour optional monthly online “hangouts”
  • In-person follow-up workshop (after end of school year)
  • Teachers are encouraged to deepen their practice by participating in a 2nd 5-day in-person workshop following the 1st year of teaching ECS
What is the compensation for teachers for PD, and when and how it is provided?
The NSF grant provides stipends of $300 to teachers participating in ECS summer workshops. Stipends for school-year quarterly workshops are being sought. Qualifying teachers will be notified as those funds become available.
What must a school commit to in participating with MECSP?
Put the ECS course on the school schedule in the following fall (2017), listed as an offering available to all students. Use the assigned course code (10012) when reporting enrollments to DESE. Select/assign a teacher to teach ECS. Agree to publicize the course, and support the teacher with recruiting efforts to ensure adequate enrollment.
What support will be available to the school to help recruit enough students to reach minimal enrollment to run the course?
MECSP can provide recruiting material samples to schools and offers webinars to teachers and guidance counselors to help recruit diverse students into ECS.
What other support and resources are available?

All ECS teachers can become part of the online professional learning community that connects ECS and other CS teachers across the state and nation: www.csforallteachers.org. MECSP can also point schools to other resources or ideas.

Does this have to be a high-school level course (grades 9-12)? Can it be offered at a middle school level?

ECS is designed as a high school course. If a school wishes to offer it below 9th grade, they would not be eligible as an MECSP partner school.

Are there any prerequisites for students?

No previous computer science course is required to take this course; it is meant to be introductory. A previous algebra course is recommended.

Can the units be taught in a different order?
No. The first four units of the course provide the necessary foundational concepts . . . it is necessary to teach the full four units in sequence before launching into extension topics or deviating from the curriculum. See guidelines for substitutions here.
To what standards does ECS map?

ECS has been mapped to Common Core standards, Computer Science Teachers Association standards, and ISTE/NETS standards, as well as standards in California and Illinois. Standards mappings are available here.

What kind of equipment and software is needed to offer the course?
    • Computers (Macs or PCs enough for a 2:1 student-computer ratio)
    • A networked system for downloading software
    • Web browser
    • Scratch programming language (downloaded for free)
    • (Having Adobe Photoshop and Flash allow extension to the web unit.)

The robotics unit lesson plans feature LEGO Mindstorms robots to be shared among several
students; however, other robot platforms may be used to teach the same concepts. Alternatives
to the robotics unit are possible (e.g. game design, media computation, or developing mobile
apps). See guidelines here.

Many ECS lessons teach computing concepts without using computers.

Please email: info@mecsp.org if you have any questions!