Buffalo State cited in progress of Obama’s ‘Computer Science for All’

Sep 15, 2016

President Obama's initiative called Computer Science for All is making progress.  A White House summit was held Wednesday.  The effort is to make sure ALL American students from kindergarten through high school learn computer science.  As WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley tells us, SUNY Buffalo State was cited in the President's 'fact sheet'.

SUNY Buffalo State's Technology Building houses the Department of Computer Information Systems.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

“We're teaching the fundamentals of computer science, which is really the beauty and joy of learning how the computer works, how do you get to program it,” said Sarbani Banerjee, SUNY Buffalo State Professor, Department of Computer Information Systems.

Banerjee explained how the college is working to train teachers on how to instruct students in computer science. Banerjee couldn't stop smiling as she explaining how the White House is recognizing their effort to train the teachers.

“What we do with the teachers is we teach them how to develop like a computer video game, for example, with the block programing, so they can take that to their students and the students can find interest. The block programming – actually they are learning how to program, but they think they are only playing with the ‘Lego’ type blocks,” Banerjee described.  

Sarbani Banerjee, SUNY Buffalo State Professor, Department of Computer Information Systems.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Professor Banerjee said their effort to train teachers actually started back in 2012 after receiving a small, $25,000 grant from Google.

“Every year we train 25-new teachers from western New York area. After this year’s training, there are about 100-some teachers that have gone through our professional development program,” Banerjee explained.  

Professor Banerjee was monitoring a White House hosted summit on Computer Science for All. Adjunct faculty member Charles Arbutina joined her.

The White House hosted a summit on 'Computer Science for All' Wednesday monitored by Buffalo State.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

“That’s exactly what we are doing. We’re totally in line with you know their whole initiative here. The field now is so broad, if you don’t do well in one little area, there’s many other areas you could do well. Just because you can’t do what we call computer programming doesn’t mean you can’t do data security or systems analysts,” said Arbutina.

Abrutina just completed a training session for area high school teachers and Girl Scouts over the summer. 

“When I taught the Girl Scouts I was very impressed at how good they were and they were between 7th grade and 11th grade. We continue to teach each semester, some of our introduction type courses to bring in more students, especially the underrepresented,” Arbutina remarked. 

President Obama said the nation must ‘make sure’ all children are 'equipped for the jobs of the future' by learning computer analytical and coding skills.   

“We are in the bandwagon of this movement," declared Banerjee.