Teaching the Principles of Computer Science in K–12 Schools

“Coding is a good gateway, but elementary students need to engage in more project-based activities to develop problem-solving skills,” says Hicks. “We need to provide opportunities for a broader application of skills with real situations and applications.”

“At CodeAdvantage, our K–12 curriculum focuses on fundamental concepts, hands-on activities, integrating arts and crafts,” Chaturvedi says. “These kids learn the if/then principle, basic drag-and-drop, and building code. You want students to reach a point where they understand the line of code and the logic behind it — and make it fun in the process.”

Along with a lack of standards and established curriculum, schools struggle to retain staff who possess a computer science background. “There are not a lot of computer science teachers around,” Baskin explains. “The field has been doing outreach to another subject matter teachers to train them, so they can come in and teach computer science as well as their focus subject.”

Tech Support for Learning Computer Science

Despite these challenges, many schools are well positioned following the pandemic with the technology they need to support and enhance computer science for their students. Students require input devices, which can include Lenovo Chromebooks, Microsoft Surface tablets or even smartphones. Internet access and wireless network connectivity are also key.

NETWORKING ESSENTIALS: These devices boost digital equity, school capacity and speed.

For younger students, most coding and programming apps — such as Roblox, Minecraft: Education Edition and MIT App Inventor – offer free or low-cost access.

There’s no specialized technology needed for middle school grades to learn programming languages ​​such as Python, JavaScript or HTML5. If schools want to get more advanced or specialized, they can explore different areas, such as robotics, using Arduino, Sphero or Raspberry Pi.

Outside the classroom, schools will want to make…