Change is Ahead

Change is Ahead

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) had just release new draft standards for Digital Literacy and Computer Science  These, if adopted, will replace the current standards adopted in 2008.   ISTE is also undergoing a refresh in the standards draft standards should be released in Jan 2016. It will be interesting to see what changes will be made.

I am excited to see the addition of computational thinking and computer science.  I strongly believe these are necessary for success in our modern economy particularly in Massachusetts.  DESE partnered with MassCAN and MassCUE to develop these standards.

The new standards are divided into 4 strands:

Computing and Society

  • Safety and Security
  • Ethics and Laws
  • Interpersonal and Societal Impact

Digital Tools and Collaboration

  • Digital Tools
  • Collaboration and Communication
  • Research

Computing Systems

  • Computing Devices
  • Human and Computer Partnerships
  • Networks
  • Services

Computational Thinking

  • Abstraction
  • Algorithms
  • Data
  • Programming and Development
  • Modeling and Simulation

The previous standards are heavy on ethics, safety, research and basic application use.  The draft standards add computer science and computational thinking.  Many of these standards can be infused within the general curriculum but as you get to the 9-12 standards it seems more difficult to integrate into existing courses. If districts are to truly implement the computer science and programing standards then additional computer science course would need to be added at the HS level. Massachusetts does not offer a computer science license so who would teach these courses?  I have heard discussion that those with a Math, Science or Instructional Technology licenses would likely fill the need. As computer science classes become wide spread I would think creating a teaching license for CS would be desirable.

What do you think about the new standards?

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