CSEd Week Teacher Spotlight: Benjamin Burton

December 11, 2020

CS Ed week is an annual event that aims to inspire K-12 students to learn computer science. All this week, we’ll be taking the opportunity to celebrate the contributions of some amazing K-12 teachers who are working to expand computer science learning in the schools and classrooms where they teach.

Benjamin Burton

Benjamin Burton
CTE Information Technology Instructor, Sequoyah High School Chattanooga, TN

Tell us about yourself
I am in my third year of teaching Computer Science / Cybersecurity at Sequoyah High School outside of Chattanooga. I am also an online adjunct instructor for Virginia Highlands Community College. When I’m not busy teaching or learning, I enjoy spending time with my family, hiking, photography, flying drones, road trips, and spending time with my two dogs Roxy and Scruffy.

Why did you go into teaching?
If I had to sum this answer up into one sentence, I would have to say that I went into teaching because I enjoy seeing students learning new knowledge and using what they have learned to better themselves and one day, the world. Other than that, I love teaching because it gives me the opportunity to share my knowledge with others and at the same time, I have the opportunity to continue learning myself.

Why is it important to teach your students computer science and maker education?
I think it is important to teach my students computer science and maker education because it allows them to gain an understanding about how technology shapes our world. Students also gain essential problem-solving skills and logic that they can use to better themselves and the people around them.

How do you integrate computer science and making into your classroom?
For this one I must give a shout out to Infosys Foundation USA for offering some amazing professional development opportunities that allowed me to easily integrate computer science and maker education in my classroom. Right now, I am teaching my students Python using Firia Labs’ curriculum. My entry level students have the opportunity to learn Jumpstart Python using Micro:bits. My advanced students have fun with their code bots with the Python with Robots course. In addition to the Firia Labs’ curriculum, I have several Arduinos that we use to incorporate making. One of the big projects we do towards the end of the year is a Rube Goldberg machine that incorporates everything they have learned for the year.

This year’s theme for CS Ed Week is #CSforSocialJustice. What does that theme mean to you?
This year’s theme #CSforSocialJustice means that we need to make sure that all students have the opportunity to learn computer science, regardless of their background. If you look at the data provided by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, you will find that in the computer field just 26% are women and only 8% are black.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Never give up! Time and time again I see some of my students ready to give up because they don’t understand a topic or find it boring. Work with them and remember that everyone learns a different way. You won’t regret spending more time once a student gets it and they will remember what you did for them for a lifetime.