Computer Science Education Week is here! Find out how you can get your students involved through the Hour of Code and become an advocate for computer science education.
Computer Science Education Week is celebrated nationwide during the week of December 4th this year. The event is sponsored by the Computing in the Core coalition and is organized and supported by Code.org.
Why the focus on computer science education?
Although the gender gap is closing in many STEM fields, computer science remains a male-dominated industry. Statistics have shown, however, that computer science is the only field in which the gender wage gap does not exist, which means women earn as much as their male counterparts.
Computer science also lacks diversity. More programs are needed in elementary, middle, and high schools to get all students involved in and excited about computer science. According to CSEdWeek.org, African American and Hispanic students are seven times more likely to major in computer science in college if they try AP Computer Science in high school. Women who take AP Computer Science in high school are ten times more likely to major in it in college.
Computer science jobs are in high demand. CSEdWeek.org says that there are 500,000 current openings for computing jobs, and these are projected to grow at twice the rate of all other jobs. This high job demand also leads to high salaries. According to CSEdWeek.org, a computer science major can earn 40% more than the average college graduate.
Education policies around computer science are lagging far behind this data. Currently, only six states have computer science standards for grades K-12, which means that many school districts are unsure of how to implement computer science courses in their schools. Data shows that between 25 and 40% of schools currently offer computer science programs, which means computer programming is not available to the majority of students in the United States.
How can I get involved in Computer Science Education Week?
The best way to get your students involved in Computer Science Education Week is to hold an Hour of Code in your classroom. Simply go to Code.org to get started. They have activities for grades pre-K through high school. They even have courses to help educators if you think you need to polish your own skills.
There are also lots of things you can do to promote computer science education!
*Post about Computer Science Education Week on your social media pages using the hashtag #CSEdWeek. Show off the amazing things you’re doing with your students in the world of computer science.
*Once you’re a pro at the Hour of Code, host an Hour of Code workshop in your local library or elsewhere in your community to show that everyone, everywhere, can learn to code!
*Contact your principal and district superintendent to ask for computer science courses in your school. Share some of the statistics around computer science careers with them to show the need for this training in your district.
*Attend a FREE professional development workshop! Code.org offers free computer science workshops for K-5 U.S. teachers all over the country. You’ll get an introduction to computer science and pedagogy, ideas and supplies for “unplugged” classroom activities, and even a swag bag. Go here to find a workshop in your area.
*Participate in the CNCS AmeriCorps Computer Science Program to develop your own computer science skills.
*Connect with nonprofit groups like 100Kin10 to get the latest news, resources, and updates on computer science education.
*Start an after-school robotics program, computer science club, or makerspace in your district.
*Incorporate computer science and coding into the genius hour in your classroom.
Coding and computer science can be intimidating to many teachers, but there are few subjects that get kids more excited to learn. It’s time to model being a lifelong learner for your students by learning some basic coding techniques and bringing them into the classroom. You can do this!
Share your Computer Science Education Week activities in the comments section, or tag us on social media!