A study by Gallup shows that student engagement decreases as students move further into their academic journey (Duffy, 2013). Why is that? Many reasons are cited, including emphasis on standardized testing, lack of connection between school and the real world, and lack of engagement with students’ learning styles (Busteed, 2013). How can educators and administrators work to close this gap, creating a lasting, enjoyable learning experience? Student-centered learning is one possible solution to this problem.
In 2016, Google partnered with Gallup, a data analytics organization, to understand perceptions of and access to computer science curriculum in grades K - 12. Gallup conducted interviews with superintendents, principals, parents, and students across the United States. The study defines computer science (CS) as “the study of how computers are designed and how to write step-by-step instructions to get them to do what you want them to do”, focusing on the overall value, demand, and opportunities for computer science in schools (Google and Gallup, 2016). You can read the entire study here. This blog post focuses on key findings and takeaways from this report, as well as what they mean for your school.
Top 3 Ways You Can Use Computer Science as a Competitive Advantage
Is your school considering implementing a computer science curriculum?
For an increasing number of schools across the United States, adding one or more computer science courses is going to be mandated by the state or local government. But that isn’t the only reason to add computer science.
Although it’s not something you may have considered, having a computer science curriculum in your school could be a HUGE competitive advantage for your students, your schools, and your community.
Let’s look at all of the ways computer science could up your ability to compete on each of these levels.
Advantages computer science creates for your STUDENTS
One of the most obvious advantages may be the benefit of your students developing and improving new skills that they can use to build upon for years to come. These skills will continue to open doors for their students, both with the problem solving and analytic skills they develop, and by the greater sense of confidence gained through learning new skills and overcoming challenges.
Advantages computer science creates for your SCHOOL
Your students aren’t the only beneficiaries of the new computer science curriculum… it’s also a significant benefit to your school. For one, as your students build new skills, and achieve new things, you’ll be building confidence in both them and their PARENTS. Preparing students for 21st-century workforce skills creates a sense of excitement, confidence, and of course, nothing will help your school attract greater enrollment like strong word-of-mouth marketing from your parents.
Advantages computer science creates for your COMMUNITY
Anything that’s beneficial to schools, students, and parents will be incredibly beneficial to your COMMUNITY. As your school builds a comprehensive computer science program, you’ll be developing talent in your classrooms—students and teachers alike. Building this pipeline of talent will help increase the skills base and create a distinct advantage for the workforce needs of your community.
If would like to learn more about the many competitive advantages of implementing a computer science program in your school, contact Codelicious today.
We are also hosting a webinar on February 25th that digs deeper into utilizing computer science as a competitive advantage.
As your school embarks on the journey of introducing computer science in the classroom, an important consideration is how to best incorporate “digital citizenship” concepts into your computer science curriculum.
Is coding on your list of New Year’s resolutions? For MIT it is. On January 2nd, MIT released a major update to their Scratch coding program. We are excited to join in the celebration! But what does the new release mean for you? Here are 4 key updates you need to know!
Teaching computer science in the classroom has been a discussion point in education for a while. In 2014, Hadi Patrovi, Code.org co-founder, gave a TEDx talk emphasizing the importance of it: “Now Computer Science, of course, is about technology,” he said, “but the reason we should be teaching it to our students is because actually, computer science is broader than that. It’s about logic, problem-solving, and creativity.”
Are you considering integrating a computer science program into your elementary or middle school? Are your students or parents asking for opportunities to build these skills during the school day, so they do not have to rely on summer camps and after-school programs? Are you asking yourself where you will find the capacity to launch a successful computer science program?
After many discussions with administrators, educators, and curriculum developers, we have gleaned these three key insights for launching a successful computer science program in elementary and middle schools.
Define the vision for your computer science offering.
Computer science is all about problem solving and analytics. These skills can be developed through coding curriculum, hardware curriculum, engineering curriculum, and many different interest generating modules. A key factor for success requires the definition of a vision for your computer science offering:
What grades will your computer science curriculum span?
What skills will your computer science curriculum develop?
Will you offer full-semester, foundational skills-building courses? Or will you offer, episodic, interest-generating modules?
Will the computer science course be a mandatory part of the instructional day, or will it be offered as an elective?
How will you excite students to continue developing computer science skills as they advance towards high school?
Identify a passionate educator, no matter their computer science background.
Did I mention that computer science is all about problem-solving and analytics? It does not require a PhD or a Master’s degree. An English educator who can construct, edit, and finalize a well-written essay will be able to follow the same analytics to develop computer science skills in students. A history educator who can explain and dissect patterns in history will be able to leverage the same analytical thought processes to develop computer science skills in students. The key skills for a successful computer science educator include:
An educator passionate about problem-solving; this will inspire perseverance in students
An educator used to prepping for classes the evening before will be able to master the computer science concepts being taught the next day
An educator who can relate computer science skills to everyday opportunities will be able to inspire curiosity in students.
Provide resources to support the educator so they can spend more time teaching.
As with any new initiative, educator support is critical to a successful launch. Whether it be professional development, instructional support, troubleshooting support, or a network of educators forging the same road, confidence builds success. If you would not expect your educator to learn math online, why would you expect him/her to learn computer science online?
Provide access to interactive professional development sessions and support resources
Align the support resources with your vision:
If you want to offer interest-generating modules, provide access to those resources.
If you want to offer full-semester, foundational skills-building courses, provide access to those resources.
Integrating a new course in the already busy school day is a challenge. However, when broken down into smaller decisions, the solution comes within reach. What is your vision for bringing computer science curriculum into the school day? Do you know an educator passionate about building these skills in students? Whatever your vision, know that there are resources available to accelerate educator confidence in teaching computer science.
If you are looking for full-semester, comprehensive Skills-building, interactive computer science curriculum for grades 3-8 that any educator can teach, check out the Codelicious product offering.