January 7th – Exploring Computer Science

Computer Science in high schools in 2015/2016 looks very different than Computer Science in high schools in 2005.  Seems like a silly statement, but even in 2005 the future was somewhat uncertain.  Now students need to be prepared for the future and the future is in their hands (I’m talking about Smartphones of course, not getting philosophical).

With the pushes by Code.org and CSTA, their are a dozen “canned curriculums” for Computer Science teachers (and others) to choose from.  If you’re in a big city there is also the possibility of organizations that will partner with your school to teach some basic concepts.  These are all great, but remember, every student and student community is unique and you have to unpack the “canned curriculum” to meet your students.

January 7th, 2016 – Exploring Computer Science

Exploring Computer Science (ECS) is one of the original national CS curriculums available.  Sponsored by Code.org, ECS was born from the book Stuck in the Shallow End by Jane Margolis.  The book was a research project of three LA School District high schools to find out why more women aren’t involved in Computer Science, and they found that women AND minorities aren’t getting involved and decided to change that.

Screen Shot 2016-01-12 at 11.53.08 AM
Exploring Computer Science (ECS) Homepage taken January 12th

Exploring Computer Science focuses on Inquiry, Equity and Computer Science concepts to reach a new generation of students.  It’s a great starting point for people who are new and would like some guide to teach Computer Science to their students.  The first 2 units can be largely done without computers so you can figure out the computer lab schedule or raise the funding in the meantime.  The third unit is focused on HTML and the fourth on Programming in Scratch.  The units afterward are Data and Robotics, but the focus is really on the first 4 units and that builds a nice foundation for students of any level.  As I’m constantly telling my students – “you are in kindergarten again, you are developing new skills and that takes practice” and of course “we have to start somewhere!”


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