How feasible is 'computer science for all'?
The "computer science for all" idea aims to teach students the necessary technology skills they will need for their futures, but implementing that approach is far from simple, according to a story in Education Week.
It’s agreed that the need for workers with technology skills is growing, but budget constraints and the availability of expert computer science teachers continues to hold back efforts to expand from basic computer skills courses to more robust lessons on topics like coding robots.
EdWeek reports that the current percentage of K-12 schools offering computer science, detailed in a 2016 survey from Google and Gallup, varies between 40% and 70% dependent upon whether extra-curricular clubs are counted.
Launching a “for all’ program on any subject across K-12 schools is a hurdle for curriculum administrators. Students have different needs, if not different interests. While one set of students may feel an affinity for learning how to code in Python, another set may find that material not only arduous to understand but also not believe it’s useful.
Curriculum designers do have an obligation, however, to teach all students the basics they need to succeed after they graduate. Someone who hopes to become an English teacher may have less use for the geometry formulas they memorized in school than an aerospace engineer. But giving all students parity on certain subjects is important.
A one-size-fits-all curriculum is not always possible, though — certainly with subjects such as computer science. Some districts can outfit entire schools with 1:1 device programs, but some don’t have the budgets. The equity problem is very real, and finding somewhere to start is key. The Hour of Code has been hugely successful, for example, and from there, administrators can slowly build curriculum as their budgets allow.
- Education Week Computer Science for All: Can Schools Pull It Off?