Thursday, November 19, 2015

Coding For More Than an Hour

hourAman Yadav from Michigan State University made this great image from the popular meme.  I love it because for me it is so very true. I code for fun these days. Oh sure a lot of what I code is for use in class as a demo or a prototype for a project I’ll assign to students but even then I pick projects that are fun.

That means I usually code for a while once I get started. Of course for professional developers (as I was in a previous life) coding can be a many hours a day thing.

This brings me to an Hour of Code. Well not the hour itself but what comes next. I love the Hour of Code. It’s a great way to introduce students to the idea of coding, let them create something cool and maybe help them to see that they can and should learn more.

Where do these students go to learn more? Sure there are lots of online resources and even a growing number of after school programs but I think we need more courses in the regular school day. A New Federal Law Means Computer Science Is Officially Part of STEM which should help convince administrators. On the other hand there is a lot of misunderstanding about what computer science actually is. A new report funded by Google (Google-Gallup research report: Perceptions of computer science reflect and reinforce stereotypes )  finds that most parents, teachers, administrators and school boards think that using a word processor is computer science. That lowers the credibility of studies that report how many schools offer computer science!

So what to do? School boards and school administrators need some education in many cases. There are resources to help. CSTA has some advocacy tools on their website. There is a growing Computer Science Advocacy Leadership Team (CSALT) made up of CSTA members across the country who are looking for volunteers to help with advocacy in the various states. Code.Org also has resources for advocacy of computer science education. NCWIT has many resources specially focused on girls in technology.

Computer Science Education week is coming up and that is a perfect time to advocate with local influential. They’re going to be hearing a lot in the news so they are going to be thinking about it. Computer science education take more than an hour. Not just to learn but to promote.



Garth said...

In the same direction why is it assumed that the business teacher is the logical person to start a CS program? That trend seems to be sweeping Montana right now. I have about 10 business teachers contacting me on how to start teaching CS or programming. They did not volunteer. They were told. It was kind of interesting trying to explain what CS is to a business teacher that had spent the last 30 years teaching typing. She initially had this glazed look in her eyes that evolved into terror. Also business teachers can apply for Montana CS endorsement without taking one programming class. Fascinating.

Francis Kim said...

Sounds like a great initiative!