Food for Thought: The Importance of Computer Science in K-12 Education


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There is an excellent rerun podcast this week from the NPR Planet Money team, “When Women Stopped Coding.”

K-12 education continues to discuss coding and its place in the curriculum, and it has certainly been a topic of import of both this blog and the annual NCCE conference.  The argument is familiar: we have lost the “hard” computer science content from the K-12 curriculum and have instead deferred to practical application and digital tool training.

There is also a deeper argument concerning the significant gender gap in computer science programs in higher education, with evidence that men outnumber women upwards of ten-to-one is some computer science coursework and fields.

However, digging into why this is the case could help direct some of the ongoing efforts of K-12 learning programs to help address the gap.  This Planet Money episode digs deeply into the cause of this gap, focusing on the year 1984 and the nature of home computers and even children’s toys.  Give it a listen:

Among my takeaways: it is important to continue to build experiences and spaces, particularly for younger students, both girls AND boys, where they have access to not only computers and other computing devices, but, time and opportunity to experiment, explore and make, in their pursuit of knowledge and answers to their own questions.  This sounds a lot like the great work happening in schools across the Pacific Northwest and beyond, providing maker spaces and excellent project-based learning environments.

What are you doing to provide more opportunities to all of your students to create and learn?  Hit is up in the comments below or on Twitter!

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