Creative Ways to Integrate Computer Science

Students need exposure to computer science. Whether we agree on not, computers are integrated into our every day life. From banking, to smart phones, to our entertainment, computer science has a huge impact on us.

“In the coming years, we should build on that progress, by … offering every student the hands-on computer science and math classes that make them job-ready on day one.”

~President Barack Obama, 2016 State of the Union Address

To bring computer science, coding, to all learners code.org was launched in 2013 by twin brothers, Hadi and Ali Partovi.  The purpose of the annual Hour of Code campaign is to get all learners K-12 exposure to coding and computational thinking skills that allow learners to take processes apart and find errors in the logic. Currently there is 124,846 events registered across the United States to celebrate the Hour of Code. Globally, this grassroots event will impact tens of millions learners in over 180 different languages.

So what are you doing to engage your learners in computer science this week and beyond? Hopefully you are offering exposure in some way, shape, or form. Sadly, I hear too often I don’t teach computers and coding has nothing to do with my subject. This is wrong and a mentality we need to overcome. We want our students to be prepared for a future where most jobs are dependent upon, if not directly dealing with computers. Preparing students to be problem solvers who can program and fix programming errors in never a bad idea when:

  • Pennsylvania currently has 16,976 open computing jobs (3.2 times the average demand rate in Pennsylvania).
  • The average salary for a computing occupation in PA is $85,654, which is significantly higher than the average salary in the state ($47,540). The existing open jobs alone represent a $1,454,062,304 opportunity in terms of annual salaries.
  • Pennsylvania had only 2,969 computer science graduates in 2015; only 20% were female.

If this data intrigues you, you can find more information here.

Code.org has committed to making computer science activities that can be implemented with little to no coding experience by the adults in the room and a wide variety of activities that can easily be implemented in math, science, ELA, social studies, or exploratory courses in grades K-12.   I challenge you to take a peek at the opportunities available for our learners on this site and even if you just allow students to dabble during a SOAP or advisory period I am sure you will get sucked into the excitement as they explore computer science in a fun and engaging activity complete with online tutorials and guides.  How can you possibly go wrong by exposing students to a skillset that is in high demand today and will be even higher tomorrow?

“Learning to write programs stretches your mind, and helps you think better, creates a way of thinking about things that I think is helpful in all domains.”

~Bill Gates

 

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About bulldogtechteach

I am a technology integrator serving in a k-1 and a 2-5 elementary building. I firmly believe in the power of technology to engage students and allow them to create and master their learning.
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6 Responses to Creative Ways to Integrate Computer Science

  1. Great reminders! We encouraged folks district-wide to engage in the Hour of Code, and I got to be in classes K-8 that were implementing it a variety of ways. We even did an hour at the district office for our employees who may know nothing about it (or more than we think!) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCT7_QL3DuQ
    Half of my job is working with our STEM teachers so we talk about this stuff a lot. Kids need to know that even though there aren’t many factory jobs left, there is a HUGE need for people to program the robots who will work in the factories! 🙂

    • I am pleased that our new superintendent seems to be focusing on the whole child and making career oriented courses available. He is also exploring an ROTC option for our district as well. I am hopeful that some STEM and coding will be coming to the MS soon.

  2. debrakillen says:

    As a former computer programmer, I see how important coding is for our students. I also see the struggles that schools face. I work in a small school and we don’t have faculty who feel prepared to work with students on coding activities. We have a new technology teacher on our lower campus who is doing a great job of using code.org and Tynker.com to provide students exposure to coding. We are hoping to include a nine-week coding course for our 7th grade in the 2018-2019 year. I would love to see more coding in all schools! Your post is a great reminder.

    • Oh I love the idea of a coding course for middle school students! I am intrigued. Could you share more about it?

    • My district is also hoping to implement coding curriculum for as many students as we can next year. Right now, we have an 8th gr STEM course which incorporates a lot of coding and robotics, and 7th gr technology, which is more general. I’ve also been doing a few intro Scratch lessons for all of our 5th graders, and we have some k-2 folks who are loving Scratch Jr. Our STEM classes are using Code.org’s Discoveries coursework for the most part, as well as Spheros and Lego robotics. I’d love to hear what others are doing as we get ready to try to take our program bigger!

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