In January of 2016, then-President Barack Obama addressed the changing demands of the 21st-century economy, and identified computer science as the “new basic skill required of contemporary students.” To meet the challenge of his time, President Obama announced a plan to give all students access to CS education.
President Obama’s identification of the importance of computer science education mirrors the attitudes and opinions of many educators, and also that of the nation’s parents and students themselves. Confirmation of this attitude is provided via the findings of a recent study which clearly illustrates that both parents and students think that computer science should be taught more in our schools.
These are all among the many reasons to join Computer Science Education Week on December 9th – 15th. Computer Science can be taught or celebrated any time of the year, but if you are focused on trying to do something for Computer Science Education Week, here are some tips to participate and maybe jumpstart Computer Science in your school:
Host a STEM/STEAM Expo: If you are doing a lot of great activities with CS-STEM in your school, show it off to your peers and your community. I had the pleasure of attending a STEAM Expo during a recent visit to Ann Arbor and it was amazing.
Invite a Scrum Master to your classroom: What the heck is a Scrum Master you ask? The very, very short answer is a Scrum Master works with Agile software development teams to make many of the cool and fun apps and products that you use every day. Agile refers to one of the ways that software development takes place. When people think of “software development jobs,” they often think of people writing code. However, there are many jobs, as a Scrum Master, in which you don’t spend all day writing code. It is important to show students that software development is a lot more than just writing code.
Join CSTA: Teaching should be a team sport. If you are new to teaching Computer Science, join CSTA and join a community of teachers with a mission to share and support best practices in Computer Science education. CSTA hosts a conference every year that boasts of being the largest teacher-led professional development event in the world. I’ve been there; it’s great.
Drive Forward is the new “Hello World.” A corresponding goal of Computer Science education has been to broaden participation. Currently, girls account for approximately half of all AP test-takers but account for only 25% of those taking AP computer science classes. Educational Robotics can be an effective tool to teach CS while also helping to broaden participation goals. The connection between Computer Science and robotics is clear; students have the ability to program their robots to perform complex tasks, both in the classroom and in competition fields. While the performance of complex tasks may be the end, the means involve decomposing these tasks into smaller parts and then iteratively building them together to create a solution — all cornerstone parts of Computer Science and Computational Thinking.