Want to join in the Computer Science Education Week fun but don’t know where to start? No worries -- we got you covered. Read on for some practical tips, tricks and ideas from other teachers around the country on how they’re integrating computer science into their classrooms.
Computer Science Education Week is aimed at inspiring students to discover computer science activities and careers, and our National Laboratories will be holding a number of activities to highlight DOE’s efforts, including increasing access to computer science education, building computational literacy, and growing the cyber workforce of the future.
Categorizing concepts through binary thinking lies under the belly of the deeply rooted institutions within the field of computer science and technology. And unfortunately, the this-or-that distinction established by the binary code could easily be translated to us-or-them. This has translated to widespread discrimination across the STEM fields, but the gendered tropes underpinning the conversation around computing may be causing even the most forward-thinking minds to miss the forest for the trees.
Many of the lesson plans taught in computer science courses and during CS Ed Week have students coding and programming via computer games and online, which means they are only interacting with a computer screen. Although an important part of the computer science learning experience, there’s even more opportunity when you add in the physical elements.
To boost the number of computer science graduates produced by the state, 11 universities are expected to share a total of $961.5 million in state funding over the next two decades for the expansion of their degree programs and construction of new facilities. The funding will be awarded on an annual basis and is subject to the universities meeting certain enrollment and fundraising targets set by the state.
There’s a dissonance between available jobs and relevant degrees. CompTIA projects that 1.4 million new tech jobs will be created by 2020, many of them requiring people with specialized skills. However, only about 28,000 computer science majors are graduating every year, based on recent figures from Deloitte. Of those graduating with a STEM-related degree, only about 8% are earning a computer science degree.
Black, Latinx, and Native American professionals are vastly underrepresented in tech fields, representing only 8 percent of the Silicon Valley tech workforce and 15 percent of the national computing workforce. Less than 30 percent are women, and less than 2 percent are women of color. There is little to no racial or gender diversity in the creation of new technologies, business ventures, or in investment, limiting our innovation potential.
As part of the organization’s mission to “make computer science count” in K-12 education, code.org takes credit for having influenced graduation policies in 42 states. Today, 47 states and the District of Columbia allow computer science classes to count in place of math classes like Algebra 2. Prior to the organization’s work, only a few states allowed computer science to count for math credit.
A paper posted online this month has settled a nearly 30-year-old conjecture about the structure of the fundamental building blocks of computer circuits. This “sensitivity” conjecture has stumped many of the most prominent computer scientists over the years, yet the new proof is so simple that one researcher summed it up in a single tweet.
Since January 2019, 33 states have passed legislation and funded $42.5 million to expand access to and diversity in K-12 computer science, according to the Code.org Advocacy Coalition, a group of more than 70 industry, non-profit, and advocacy organizations working together to make computer science a fundamental part of K-12 education.