Experiences in Applied Computational Thinking Certificate Program

Part of Catalyst @ Penn GSE

The Experiences in Applied Computational Thinking (EXACT) certificate program is a 30-week, fully online program. EXACT is designed by Penn GSE and the GRASP lab to provide educators with an understanding of computational thinking through experiential learning using current theory and practice in the field of computer science. 

This program will:

  • Help educators develop computational thinking skills.
  • Help educators develop basic programming skills.
  • Serve as a starting point to advanced computer science education courses.
  • Encourage coding and computational thinking within the K-12 classroom environment.

Fast Facts


  • Prerequisites: Bachelor’s degree
  • New cohort starts: May 2019
  • Application deadline: March 31st, 2019
    (Priority deadline to be considered for scholarships)
  • Certificate cost: $6480
  • Format: Online, both synchronously and asynchronously
  • Key Features:
    • 6 module format, over 2 semesters
    • Equivalent of 3 CEUs
    • Earn Act 48 credits
    • Small class size of 15 students
    • Limited scholarships available

View Admissions Requirements


The Experiences in Applied Computational Thinking (EXACT) program is an online certificate program that provides an introduction to computational thinking and coding for educators who have no prior experience with coding or computing in K-12 classrooms. Similar to Penn GSE’s Virtual Online Teaching (VOLT) program, EXACT is a part-time, fully online certificate program. It takes place over two semesters, and is designed for practitioners and educators who would like to incorporate computational thinking in their pedagogy.

EXACT develops teacher expertise in computational concepts (coding concepts such as loops, sequences, data), computational practices (problem solving practices that occur in coding such as debugging, reusing, remixing) and computational perspectives (understanding of themselves and their relation to a digital world around them). The program also introduces cutting-edge applications of computers in real-world contexts, such as natural language processing, computer vision, and robotics.

Program of Study

The program modules follow the sequence below.

Modules 1 and 2
Participants begin the course by understanding the need for computational thinking in the 21st century classroom, and explore ways in which it can be made explicit in their teaching spaces. Through an introductory coding platform, participants build introductory level computer science skills and explore the basics of coding languages. This develops the thinking skills and language around coding, such as variables, loops, and conditional statements.



Modules 3 and 4
In these modules, participants will be introduced to programming in Python, and will learn to program the Raspberry Pi. They will need to solve computational thinking problems using computer hardware, peripherals, and machine learning in a guided learning experience.

Module 5
Building on previous modules, participants use applications such as natural language processing or computer vision to solve a relevant problem. It culminates with an immersive project designed to apply computational thinking processes in a real-world scenario.

Module 6
The final project of the program requires teachers to work collaboratively to create a lesson plan or an extended curriculum that incorporates computational thinking in their subject areas.


@ Penn GSE

University of Pennsylvania
Graduate School of Education

3700 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Betty Chandy
Program Director, Online Learning
(215) 898-6694