[Across the country schools are looking for ways to integrate computational thinking into their academic programs. In this PBS article there are some great examples. In Western Pennsylvania the South Fayette School District has developed a K-12 articulated curriculum. This year South Fayette is offering a STEAM Innovation Summer Institute that includes workshops on Scratch, Python, and AppInventor, all tools used in the district. What’s so different is that the AppInventor and Python courses have been developed by students. ]
May 21, 2016
On a recent Friday afternoon at a Brooklyn public school, the children of Sabrina Knight’s second-grade class listened intently as she used a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to talk about algorithms.
Moments later, a student volunteer walked back and forth across the room to demonstrate looping, a technical term used in the field of computer programming.
“Thumbs up if you got it,” Knight said, as a flurry of 7- and 8-year-old hands and thumbs shot up in the air. “Open up your computers and thumbs up when you see the blue screen.”
Students grabbed their headphones and flipped open yellow laptops issued to Park Slope’s PS 282. The rest of the lesson would be devoted to coding, as the class of 15 used simple equations to command cartoon characters to move across their monitors.
Knight’s young class is one in a growing number of public schools across the United States that are introducing computer science education into their curricula, in part to make up for the educational disparities among female and minority students that contribute to a professional void in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Such gaps have been recognized at the federal level. In January, President Barack Obama announced he would push to introduce a $4 billion initiative called Computer Science For All, which seeks to bring computer science education to many of the nation’s public schools over the next decade. Negotiations for the program’s budget are ongoing on Capitol Hill.