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January 11, 2015

Tips to Integrate Computer Science into Your Classroom

There are currently 586,982 computer science jobs available in the US, but last year, only 38,175 students graduated with computer science degrees. Why?

While technology integration in education has picked up STEAM over the past 10 years (e.g., 1 to 1 initiatives), technology usually acts as a method of instruction, not the focus. The need to get kids interested in computer science careers is so great that President Obama launched the TechHire Initiative, which aims to train students and the existing workforce in computer science by taking advantage of free online resources, continuing education schools, and employer initiatives.

Computer science is a great way to teach your students math, science, and technology and get them excited about a wide-open 21st-century career. To get started, we’ve compiled a list of resources to help you integrate computer science—specifically, coding—into your classroom.

What is Computer Science?

The field of computer science involves a theoretical understanding of computers and the math that built them (e.g., binary code). Developers, programmers, coders, and hackers all apply these practical skills to web development, as well as to computer programs themselves, using a variety of coding languages like C++, Python, Ruby, Java, and Javascript. While computer science is a large, complex field, computer coding is a great entre into computer science for both you and your students.

Coding Resources to Get You Started

Coding Boot Camps

For older, more advanced students, coding boot camps are a great way to learn practical, job-based skills in computer science. In just one semester, students can learn what they need for an entry-level computer science job. Many programs have connections with technology companies to place students in apprenticeships, internships, and jobs upon completion. The cost varies for boot camps, but some are free or offer scholarships.

  • The Flatiron School and General Assembly have computer science courses across the spectrum from basic coding to product and project management
  • Girls Who Code offers a free 7-week summer intensive, which is a great way to engage the girls in your class in computer science, a traditionally male dominated field

An Hour of Code

As Computer Science Education Week (December 7-13) approaches, consider committing classroom time to institute an Hour of Code. You can pick from this extensive list of ready-made lesson plans, or have your students create their own Hour of Code or computer science club.

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