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Thursday, December 10, 2015

7 Ways to Get Students Interested in Computer Science

Neil Plotnick works at Everett High School, an urban district located just north of Boston, and blogs regularly for the CS10K Community reports, "Computer science is too often defined by what it’s not. Students, teachers, and administrators frequently characterize computer science as a discipline dominated by people who stare at screens, mindlessly inputting reams of arcane code, or geniuses who thwart bank heists and assassinations. Others believe that mastering office applications or producing a webpage form the core of computer science education." 

Image by U.S. Department of Education on Flickr, under Creative Commons

In reality, students in my class learn to develop computational thinking skills. Using a computer to solve real-world problems does indeed require becoming familiar with acronyms, mastering some basic algorithms, and writing commands in Python, Javascript, or other languages. However, the most critical skills that students will be expected to master involve collaboration, presentation, and knowing how to break a task down into its essential steps.

By approaching computer science as a flexible tool that is vital in many disciplines, students will appreciate how learning to program can benefit them in whatever career path they chose. Teachers in all content areas can also see the value in integrating computer science principles in their practice.

Here are seven tricks for getting students to enroll in computer science classes—or engage them in computational thinking in your own classroom.

Source: Education Week Teacher