The nation’s largest school districts are rushing to fill the coding gap

[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. ]

BY MICHAEL D. REGAN  May 21, 2016

Sabrina Knight’s second-grade students at a Brooklyn public school receive lessons in coding. Some school districts in the United States are attempting to expand computer science education while the Obama administration is pushing to bring the subject to every public school in the nation. Michael D. Regan/PBS NewsHour

Sabrina Knight’s second-grade students at a Brooklyn public school receive lessons in coding. Some school districts in the United States are attempting to expand computer science education while the Obama administration is pushing to bring the subject to every public school in the nation. Michael D. Regan/PBS NewsHour

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.

Read more…

 

What It Really Takes To Get Girls Like Me to Code

[For years as the Coordinator of Educational Technology for a school district outside of Pittsburgh I witnessed very few young women taking AP Computer Science or other programming classes. I wondered what we need to do. In this Edsurge article you’ll hear from a high school student what worked for her. The key is gaining the real world experiences that we don’t usually include in our academic programs.]

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By Mira Baliga Jan 8, 2016


Girls Who Code. Black Girls Code. Made With Code. Technovation. Girl Develop It. Girls Teaching Girls to Code.

These are some of the programs and organizations trying to reach gender parity in computer science by introducing girls to programming.

I have been involved with several such organizations. But by far, the one that has most significantly influenced my decision to pursue a career in computer science is Girls Who Code. Let me tell you why.

Read more…

Coding Across the Curriculum

See on Scoop.itUsing Technology to Transform Learning

Teacher and edtech leader Matthew Farber discusses the history of computer science education in the run-up to this month’s Hour of Code initiative.

Norton Gusky‘s insight:

Great personal story from a social studies teacher who shared a host of resources about coding.

See on www.edutopia.org