Scientist Spotlight: Teaching Technical Topics to High Schools

David Peeler with Leigh McCook, director of STEM@GTRI

David Peeler with Leigh McCook, director of STEM@GTRI

David Peeler, a research scientist with the Institute for People and Technology (IPaT) at Georgia Tech, dedicates his time to supporting high teachers and students across the state of Georgia by teaching computer programming-related topics.

Peeler is a key team member supporting Georgia Tech’s Rural Computer Science Initiative launched in 2022. This initiative offers co-teaching lessons prepared by Georgia Tech faculty and offers virtual classes in computer science to expose Georgia high school students to a variety of technical topics and career pathways.

The program was conceived by Georgia Tech’s Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics and Computing (CEISMC)) and the Georgia Tech Research Institute, specifically STEM@GTRI, to create and launch a pilot program for rural Georgia school districts with support from Georgia’s legislators to bring technical knowledge directly into high school classrooms.

“I’ve created and taught Java professional development courses for high school teachers to learn and use in their classes,” said Peeler. “Part of my job is to be on call for instructors who need me to troubleshoot problems. In addition, we typically have a week of in-class instruction where I virtually beam into the class to teach directly, then we introduce a project for them to try and tackle on their own based from the in-class material that we taught. I really like what I’m doing for Georgia high schools.”

Peeler has also created an instructional module introducing students to robotic programming. Students develop and deploy code using the MakeCode environment which is an online platform and toolset developed by Microsoft that enables users, especially beginners and students, to learn programming and computer science concepts through blocked-based coding.

Through this initiative and with the help of Peeler, Georgia Tech is empowering the next generation of tech-savvy leaders fostering interest in STEM fields and opening doors to exciting career opportunities.

“I'm extremely proud to be a part of this initiative and kickstarting the next generation of high school students in the computer science realm,” said Peeler.

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