17 October 2010

Getting "Computing in the Core"

I've typically avoided spending much time on trying to convince school board (or whomever) that they should do more to include Computer Science & Engineering & Programming in the K-12 curriculum. This is not because I feel this is unimportant (double-negative = yes, I think it's important), but rather that I'd rather not get mired in the politics at this point. In any case there are lots of competent people already working on this (uphill) battle.

I've also felt that I can do my part by creating and publishing various assignments, projects and presentations so that other instructors can make use of them. (I've been doing OK on the 'creating' part, but I have a large backlog of material I need to get around to 'publishing').

Getting back to the 'lots of competent people already working on this' topic, I just saw the announcement for Computing in the Core (CinC) which touts itself as a:
...non-partisan advocacy coalition of [blah, blah, blahs] that strive to elevate computer science education to a core academic subject in K-12 education...
And it made me go 'yea!'

Even if they focus only on 9th-12th grade (which I hope they don't), their success would still makes a great start since eventually the requirements will trickle down to the lower grades. I strongly believe that we should be starting earlier with CS education and that many of the problems we encounter are due to the late start, but that's another topic for another day.

I was reminded of the importance of getting CS into the core curriculum when I was talking with a friend the other day:
This friend has a daughter who attends a middle-school with an after-school robotics program. She was interested in this class (and had done some robotics in the past) but none of here friends were going to be taking it. In the end, she chose not to sign up for the program.
If this had been a "6th period robotics" class that everyone had to take, this would not have happened. It's difficult to be the only one of your peers interested in something like this. Who knows, maybe her friends would have enjoyed it as well.

But to finish up on a positive note. Yea for CinC! I hope that they are wildly successful.

No comments: