A coalition of computer science organizations - led in aspect from the Seattle-based nonprofit Code.org - not too long ago launched the K-12 Computer Science Framework. The document supplies a roadmap for educators eager to increase past lessons in the way to use a spreadsheet or make a PowerPoint deck.
And probably most significantly, the framework aims to create computer system science welcoming to all college students - which include female, black, Hispanic and other youngsters who have been disproportionately absent from these courses and, eventually, the tech sector.
“We’re at that level the place districts all throughout the nation are seeking all over and contemplating [computer science] is massive,” explained Greg Bianchi, STEM Curriculum Developer for your Bellevue School District.
But without the need of guidance, “how does another person inside a K-12 technique navigate that, and make the ideal possibilities to say, ‘Here is what we want to do at K, here is what we would like to do in third grade?’” explained Bianchi, who’s also a project advisor for Washington STEM, an educational nonprofit.
And while the framework could superior prep young children for tech careers, it’ll do more than that, supporters mentioned.
“The cause for youngsters to understand pc science will not be that they’ll enter the computer software business workforce - even though absolutely some will,” explained Ed Lazowska, Bill & Melinda Gates Chair in Pc Science & Engineering at the University of Washington, via email. “It’s that no matter what career you choose, knowledge of laptop or computer science is increasingly essential - it’s a life skill within the 21st century, not vocational training.”
But it’s an area of academics that has been dominated by white and Asian male college students.
A study just released by Gallup and Google found that middle and high school girls say they are less interested in personal computer science and less confident that they can discover it than boys. The survey also found that black students were less likely to have a personal computer science class at school than white peers, and that both black and Hispanic college students spend less time on computers at home.
As a result, data from the AP Personal computer Science exam reveals that last year, only 22 percent of the exam test takers were female and 13 percent were non-white or non-Asian students.
When it comes to inclusion in personal computer science education, “what we’ve done from the past hasn’t worked,” said Shannon Thissen, Laptop Science Program specialist in learning and teaching for Washington’s Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). “We need to change what we’re doing.”
The will need for any change has grown so urgent that in January, President Obama launched the Computer system Science for All initiative to promote widespread instruction for all college students. The idea is that laptop science needs to become a fundamental element of education, joining other core subjects.
The new framework will help that effort, supporters stated. And it’s been endorsed by numerous educational nonprofits, institutions and corporations like Amazon, Microsoft, Expedia and Google.
The framework isn’t a set of standards, but presents the essential concepts that college students should grasp and which skills they should have at various grades. The hope is that these concepts and skills are integrated into other academics as nicely as being taught as stand-alone computer science.
The core concepts are: an comprehending of computing systems, networks and the internet, data and analysis, algorithms and programming, and the impacts of computing. The skills or “practices,” as they’re called in the document, include creating an “inclusive computing culture,” developing and using abstractions and defining computational problems.
One of the framework’s key goals is bringing computer system science to early elementary grades.
Through the end of second grade, the document calls for students to understand some of the ways that laptop devices share information, and have some ideas about troubleshooting and the notion that complex tasks can be solved by breaking them into smaller pieces, among other goals.
When you look at who is enrolled in laptop or computer science lessons in high school, “it’s been pretty narrow in terms of the demographics involved,” Bianchi mentioned. “We haven’t laid the foundation in early years to get youngsters on board.”
Introducing instruction on technological innovation in elementary college could change that.
“Hopefully much more and extra women and under-represented minorities will soon be arriving at colleges and universities wanting to pursue computer science,” Lazowska mentioned, “because they already understand that it’s a discipline that gives them the power to change the world, and it’s a field they’re good at and enjoy.”
The framework offers key ideas and skills, but the states still should develop specific curriculum for educators to use in teaching the material. The national Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) has been working on curriculum development, taking input from the framework as it has evolved over the past year. (CTSA also helped lead the creation of the framework, along with Code.org, the Association for Computing Machinery, Cyber Innovation Center, and National Math and Science Initiative.)
Thissen, with OSPI, stated that Washington educators have already been working with the documents from these national efforts to develop the state’s pc science curriculum, which should be approved in December. The implementation of the curriculum will take three to four years, she mentioned.
In recent years, the state has taken important steps to lay a foundation that supports the expansion of personal computer science education.
“Washington is very nicely set up to lead the nation,” said Pat Yongpradit, Chief Academic Officer for Code.org and the group’s lead on framework.
Rep. Drew Hansen, a democrat from Bainbridge Island, west of Seattle, has helped set the stage.
Hansen sponsored legislation that made AP computer system science count as a math or science credit, not an elective; instructed the state to develop computer system science standards; and directed OSPI to create a laptop or computer science endorsement for teachers.
He was also instrumental in designating $1 million a year in state funding that's available to teachers for professional development in laptop or computer science. The funding requires a match from the private sector and has been available for two years.
“The state of Washington has, with great help from private market, made significant investments in expanding laptop science education and will continue to create significant investments for as long as there is really a require,” Hansen said.
Educators have the road map and help for expanding laptop or computer science instruction, but it will still take significant work to make the subject a component of essential education - particularly outside of the additional urban Interstate-5 corridor and tech centers such as Seattle, Redmond and Bellevue.
Teachers are already trying to wedge a tremendous amount of material into each day to meet current curriculum requirements and prepare youngsters for standardized tests.
“If we can find a way to fold laptop or computer science into other core subjects - and we can - it’s seriously powerful,” Bianchi explained. “It involves a lot of professional development so teachers can see it.”
But there is momentum, supporters stated. The college students are undoubtedly eager for this, said Susan Enfield, superintendent of Highline Public Schools, located south of Seattle.
“They desire to be challenged a lot more and have more hands-on projects and have a window on how this applies outside of college,” Enfield stated.
And it’s not as tough to bring to teachers along as one might think.
“There are always some folks who are champing at the bit and ready to innovate and ready to go,’ Enfield said. “I don’t will need buy in from every teacher. It’s just finding the folks who would like to lead and innovate.”