Adding Computer Science into the Curriculum

by Beth Knittle on July 26, 2016

This June the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education formally adopted new Digital Literacy and Computer Science Curriculum Frameworks.  A good portion of the digital literacy frameworks overlap with the literacy standards regarding research, analysis of information, collaboration and presentations.  These standards place added emphasis on these skills and the tech tools needed to meet them. What is significantly different is the much needed addition of computer science; computing and society, digital tools and collaboration, computing systems and, computational thinking. These have not been a part of the general k-12 curriculum in the past and it will take some creative planning to work these standards into an already full learning day.  The goal is that these frameworks should be integrated in the core subjects and not stand alone classes, though at the high school level subject specific classes should also be added as learning options.

I have had fun exploring a variety of tools and websites geared toward K-5 students.  We already use the code.org curriculum courses 1-3 but have been seeking out short, quick side trips into the world of computer science to provide to teachers who are not computer science aficionados.  Here are a few of the resources I have been exploring.

  • Made with Code, a Google Project, is directed at young girls to expose them to the world of coding.
  • Google also has free resources for teachers and clubs at CS-First.
  • Code.org has many options at Code Studio.
  • Computer Science Unplugged has a large number of activities for computational thinking that do not require the use of a computer.
  • Mozilla has mini project to learn HTML at Thimble.
  • Scratch has a wide variety of options for learning basic coding principles.

Other resources? Please add them to the comments below.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Amelia Roster August 1, 2016 at 5:35 am

Codeacademy, w3schools and coursera are some really great websites for beginners who are intersted in coding; basic computer science should be included in the curriculum so that students can get exposed to the world of computers from an early age.

Micheal A August 25, 2016 at 3:40 am

Thanks for this post… The impact of technology in our present days cannot be overlooked. So also computer science. Thanks for making reference to these useful resources.

Ellen Harrington August 31, 2016 at 3:06 pm

I wanted to point out that your statement, “The goal is that these frameworks should be integrated in the core subjects and not stand alone classes” is so right! I feel like our students are very “connected,” yet are so behind and don’t seem to know how to do basic functions in Microsoft Word.

It’s not exactly a resource to share, but our school district does have a very healthy Robotics program. It gets kids doing coding and all sorts of cool technology stuff; not so much the basic computer/word processing operations many kids are lacking, but still a great way to get kids interested in more than just using Instagram and Twitter.

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