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K–12 Schools Work to Incorporate Computer Science into Curriculums

Ed Tech Magazine – Eli Zimmerman

“Forecasts report that computer science skills will be essential for the future workforce, creating a need for K–12 experts to work harder to incorporate such lessons into the curriculum. According to the App Association, there will be approximately 1 million unfilled computing jobs in 2024. Research conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics has found that number could be reached by 2020. These findings have put a fire underneath educators and K–12 organizations to refocus efforts to teach computer science skills.” (more)

The 2 stages of successful early STEM education revisited

E-School News – Kristen Fudale

“I have been in education for 18 years and my strongest belief is that all children deserve a fresh start when they begin each school year. My classroom is a safe environment where students feel it’s acceptable to try, even if they’re not going to be successful the first time–and that certainly applies to STEM education.” (more)

Female, minority students took AP computer science in record numbers

USA Today – Ryan Suppe

“Female, black and Latino students took Advanced Placement computer science courses in record numbers, and rural student participation surged this year, as the College Board attracted more students to an introductory course designed to expand who has access to sought-after tech skills.” (more)

Opinion: If the U.S. Wants to Protect Itself Against Cyber Warfare, It Must Invest Big in K-12 Computer Science

The 74 Million – Andrew Lewis

“A yearly rite of passage for state lawmakers across the United States is creating an annual budget, and as sure as the sun will rise and set, there will be debate about K-12 expenditures. Go to any state capitol building and you will hear arguments over whether the state is spending too much or too little to properly educate its public school students.” (more)

Computer science in high school?

News Herald – Juliann Talkington

Juliann

Computer science has advanced considerably since the first computer programming language was developed in the 1950s. Instead of using punch cards to communicate with large mainframes, coders now work on personal computers, enjoy user-friendly programming languages, and have access to extensive libraries that include algorithms for many common operations.


Here are some of the highlights from the history of computer science from 1953 – 2016:
1953 – The first computer language, COBOL, is created.
1977 – Jobs and Wozniak incorporate Apple.
1985 – Microsoft announces Windows.
1998 – Google is founded.
1999 – WiFi is introduced.
2004 – Facebook is launched.
2007 – Apple introduces the smart phone and app developers flourish.
2016 – The first reprogrammable quantum computer is created.

During this period, Gordon Moore (Intel), Steve Jobs (Apple Computer), Bill Gates (Microsoft), Larry Ellison (Oracle), Steve Case (AOL), Larry Page (Google), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), and many others made fortunes using zeros and ones to process and store information.

In 2017, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced development of a new “Molecular Informatics” program that moves data processing and storage to the molecular level. Instead of using zeros and ones these molecular computers would use qualities like size, orientation, and color to process and store massive amounts of data.

If the molecular approach to computing is accepted, computer science would likely shift from a discipline within electrical engineering to a specialty of chemical engineering. In addition, there would no longer be a need for traditional circuit boards and other computer components. Most, if not all, of the current computer programming languages would be obsolete.

With the possibility of such a radical change, one wonders how education needs to morph to prepare our children for the new paradigm. Sadly, it is impossible to predict the exact direction technology will take. As a result, it is impossible for schools to develop a curriculum that provides the perfect preparation for the workplace.

Rather than trying to chase each new advance, it is probably best to encourage children to build an strong understanding of foundational subjects like chemistry, physics, biology, reading, writing, speaking, and creative problem solving. This way they will have the building blocks to adapt whether computer science is electrical, biological, chemical, or some blend.

Strange as it may seem, basic is better when the pace of technological change accelerates.