Recently, in the 2016 State of the Union Address, President Obama announced a new computer science initiative, Computer Science For All, that would give all students across the country the chance to learn computer science (CS) in school. He was quoted as saying, ”In the new economy, computer science isn’t an optional skill — it’s a basic skill, right along with the three ‘Rs,”
There are 3 main components in the Computer Science for All Initiative:
- Inclusion in the White House’s forthcoming 2017 budget of $4 billion in funding for states and $100 million directly for districts to increase access to K-12 CS. Those funds will be used to cover teacher training, “high-quality” instructional materials and the building of “effective regional partnerships.” Specifically, Obama wants to see “hands-on” CS courses in every public high school and more learning opportunities in the subject in elementary and middle schools.
- Obama is also asking the NSF and the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) to invest “more than $135 million” in training CS teachers. The White House stated that the agencies will make those investments over the next five years using existing funds.
- Finally, the President is calling on state and local governments, education leaders, CEOs, philanthropists and others to get involved.
As a digital leader, FWSU has already been developing and implementing computer science into the curriculum and multiple school activities. For the past few years, all three schools have participated in an hour of code to introduce computer science to multiple grade levels. At GEMS, students have the opportunity to take choice classes that teach coding, including intro to game maker, advanced game maker and Minecraftedu. At BFA, the school recently started a new after school coding club. Fletcher has also provided several coding opportunities for students.
Looking forward, FWSU is continually looking for additional way to integrate computational thinking into classrooms. Some of these activities including coding competitions in it’s annual Engineer Day, coding during Summer Learning Days and participating in Girls Who Code this summer. Finally, this spring, FWSU will be offering a graduate level course for teacher to learn how to use computational learning to personalize learning for students.
Target 1 – Proficiency-Based Personalized Learning. FWSU students and staff design and engage in proficiency-based personalized learning that integrates collaborative inquiry, problem solving, and creativity.
Indicator of Success. Teachers provide learners with multiple pathways for meeting standards so that students achieve proficiency in essential areas of learning.
Angelique Fairbrother is a Digital Learning Specialist at FWSU. Follow her on Twitter @FWSUtech .