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Communications of the ACM

Education

Making Computer Science Count


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Credit: Code.org

It is amazing how the discussion around computer science education at the K–12 level (primary and secondary schools) continues to evolve. In the U.S. and around the world, we have shifted from simply discussing exposing more students to computer science to actually doing it. Education and political leaders, major corporations, and even average citizens realize the ubiquity of computing in our everyday lives creates a big unanswered question: Who is going to write all the software we need for the digital age? And as computer science evolves to support all fields, how are we going to expose students to a fundamental new literacy? Those are big questions. And one clear answer is that education systems—particularly at the K–12 level—must change and adapt to the new reality of the digital age.

In the U.S., the education system has the unique characteristics of being both monolithic (big and clunky) and highly diverse (highly distributed decision making). Change does not come quickly, and when it does it is often only in pockets of reform. In general, the existing U.S. education system considers computer science education as something for the few, not a fundamental need for all. So how are we going to change this system to ensure rigorous and engaging computer science education is something all students have access to? A new effort led by Code.org in partnership with ACM, the National Science Foundation, and a number of other corporate and non-profit stakeholders is now working to provide the answer for the U.S.


 

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