Tag Archives: CS

Making computer science accessible worldwide with CS4HS

Last summer, K-12 educators in the Boston, Mass. area gathered at MIT for a bit of summer school. They weren’t there to brush up on freshman year biology, but rather to learn a new subject, the programming language Scratch. This is a snapshot of the Google in education group’s Computer Science for High School (CS4HS) program. The teachers gathered at MIT last July had various backgrounds and degrees, but they all attended with one goal—to bring computer science (CS) education back to their schools, and their students.

From now until March 3, 2012, CS4HS is accepting applications from interested colleges and universities for our fourth consecutive year of computer science workshops. If you’re not affiliated with a college or university you can still encourage your local university, community college or technical school to apply for a grant. In the late spring, after applications close, we’ll post workshop websites of participating schools on cs4hs.com for professors looking for ideas and for teachers interested in learning more about what’s being offered.

Over the course of the three-day professional development workshops, funded by Google and held on university campuses around the world, participants learn about programming software directly from developers and full-time CS faculty. There is balance of discussion, engaging project work and presentations. The workshops prepare educators to teach programming and computing in their schools and turn their students into computational thinkers and creators.

The need for more CS professionals is increasing faster than universities are able to graduate CS students, and CS4HS hopes to address this gap with our “train the trainer” approach. We provide the universities with the support they need, so they can provide local teachers with the tools they need, so that those teachers can teach students the skills they will need.

In 2011, we funded more than 70 programs that trained thousands of educators worldwide on various aspects of CS. In 2012, we are expanding our program to include more regions and reach even more teachers. If you are affiliated with a university, community college or technical school in the U.S, Canada, Europe, Middle East, Africa, China, Australia or New Zealand and are interested in creating a three-day CS4HS workshop, we want to partner with you.

Visit www.cs4hs.com for more information and details on the types of programs we are looking to fund. You will also find curriculum modules from past workshops to use or adapt, as well as a list of participating schools from 2010 and 2011. There’s also an example of a successful program and of a stand-out application to get you started on the right track.

Help spread enthusiasm for computer science in your community: When you’re ready to apply, submit your application online by March 3, 2012.

Say yes to CS during CSEdWeek

This Sunday marks the start of the third annual Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek), taking place in the U.S. from December 4-10. CSEdWeek underscores the need for strong computer science education programs to ensure the nation has a pipeline of future workers skilled in technology. It’s a call to action that urges local efforts by parents and teachers to not only pay attention to CS education, but also to elevate its status and quality.

Current projections show we’ll have 1.4 million new computing jobs by 2018, but a recent
report from the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) found that only nine states count high school computer science courses as a core academic subject in graduation requirements. You don’t have to be an engineer to do the math here—if things stay this way, there will be a shortage of skilled workers to fill these valuable jobs.

We want to increase access to education and technology for all students, which is why we support initiatives like CSEdWeek that are vital to accomplishing that very goal. CSEdWeek is a chance to eliminate misperceptions about CS and computing careers and increase awareness about all the opportunities understanding computing enables. Furthermore, a high-quality education that includes CS teaches students skills and processes that will benefit them no matter what field they choose to go into. The overarching goal is to have K-12 computer science become one of the core disciplines in our national education system.

A few ideas about what you can do this week:

  • Students can celebrate CSEdWeek and spread the word by changing their Google+, Facebook, Twitter or other social media profiles to a computer scientist you identify with most.
  • Teachers can use CS Unplugged to teach lessons that explain how computers work, and at the same time, address critical mathematics and science concepts from number systems and algorithms to manipulating variables and logic.
  • Anyone can “Take the Pledge” to join in and/or support teachers, students, parents and others who are participating in CSEdWeek activities and events.

CSEdWeek is a major activity of Computing in the Core (CinC), a non-partisan coalition of which we’re proud to be a member, alongside other corporations, associations, scientific societies and nonprofits striving to elevate computer science education to a core academic subject in K-12 education. Including CS as a core subject will give young people career-readiness knowledge and the skills necessary to thrive in a technology-focused society.

For additional information on CSEdWeek or to find out about events for students, parents and educators in your area, please visit the CSEdWeek website: www.csedweek.org.