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Computer Science

Our nation’s computer scientists use technology to solve some of our biggest challenges, designing solutions to make our daily lives and work easier. They design algorithms.  They write software. They create applications. They think of ways to make our devices work better, and even invent new ones. Across our country, computer scientists are building the next big thing.

When students have the opportunity to study computer science, they can develop skills and aptitudes such as persistence, problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration — skills that they will need to succeed in school, life, and any profession they choose.

We know that computer science is an expanding field, presenting many opportunities to young people looking for exciting, relevant work in our increasingly global, knowledge-based economy.

By the year 2018, more than half of all science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) jobs are projected to be in computer science-related fields. And those remaining STEM jobs will almost all require significant computational skills. If we want our students to be prepared to thrive in this environment of rapid economic change, we need to start preparing them right now.

Computer science also is an active and applied field of STEM learning where students are able to engage in hands-on, real-world interaction with key math, science, and engineering principles. In addition to coding, it gives students opportunities to be producers in the digital economy, not just consumers of the technology around them.  Computer science also can help foster “computational thinking” skills and practices that are relevant to problem-solving across many disciplines and careers, skills such as breaking a large problem into a number of smaller ones, recognizing how problems relate to ones that already have been solved, setting aside details of a problem that are less important, and identifying and refining the steps needed to reach a solution. 

Below you will find resources to support educators, schools, districts and states interested in increasing access to computer science opportunities for students.  This page will be updated as new resources are posted, so please check back often.

ED’s Support for Computer Science

The U.S. Department of Education provides tools and resources to states and districts to create high-quality CS learning opportunities for students in grades P-8 and provide greater access to CS courses in high school including:

·   Resources for STEM Education: Building on the STEM Act of 2015, ED released a Dear Colleague Letter that includes guidance on opportunities to support STEM education. This letter discusses opportunities to expand access to STEM and CS learning experiences for all students. The Department of Education’s Office of Innovation & Improvement’s (OII) invests in innovative and evidence-based projects that reach high need schools and communities; such programs could include launching or scaling CS projects.

·   CS Teacher Institute: The Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) and National Science Foundation (NSF) are participating in a joint effort to expand the field of computer science educators in Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs. This effort is creating a cohort of educators who will provide additional computer science professional development to other educators across the country.

·   Creating 21st Century Learners and Coders: The U.S. Department of Education’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program, funded at more than $1 billion and the federal government’s largest investment in afterschool and extended day programs, will increase awareness of high quality CS resources for out-of-school programs.

Resources funded by the National Science Foundation

View NSF supported projects and the instructional materials and resources those projects have created for teachers and schools.

Examples from the field

1.  South Fayette Township School District’s focus on “computational thinking,” which involves not only programming but also robotics and electrical engineering that promotes students to “think abstractly, recursively, algorithmically, and logically

2.  Liberty Elementary School’s offers not only coding, but also circuit design, robotics, and other makerspace activities.

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