For many students, computer science is a daunting field. Getting them excited at school is a great way to foster the next generation of innovators in the field. Computer Science Education Week’s mission is to help educators bring that enthusiasm into the classroom with some great resources. Here are just 5 suggestions of the many options you could bring into your classroom this year.
Hour of Code
Hour of Code is a massive educational coding initiative, reaching tens of millions of students in over 180 countries. Hour-long coding tutorials that give students the basics of coding and empower them to see how the programs they use every day are available in 45 languages. This global event takes place between December 5-11 every year, during Computer Science Education week, and any school is welcome to participate. This is a great resource because it’s accessible to teachers and students who are new to coding.
Daisy the Dinosaur and Other Coding Programs
Hour of Code isn’t the only great tutorial out there for students. Daisy the Dinosaur is an iOS app suitable for ages 4 and up, and it’s a cute and fun little coding program to teach students the basics. From there, they can move on to other programming tutorials and expand their knowledge.
Speakers from the Field
During Computer Science Education Week, there are so many ways to teach students how to code, and how that applies to their life outside of school. But how do you show them what is possible with a computer science degree after graduation? Bringing speakers in from different careers in computer science is a great way to show the different options available to students. Consider bringing in a cybersecurity expert, a software engineer, or an app developer—there are so many options.
CS First Clubs
Computer science is a lot more interesting to students when they’re allowed to explore it in the context of their interest. CS First Clubs are organized around students’ interests, like music, art, sports, and game design. The materials are free and are designed to be used in the classroom, or during after-school and summer programs to encourage students to pursue computer science.
Hands-On Robotics Activities
As every teacher knows, one of the best ways to keep students engaged is to create with them. Hands-on activities, like these robotics projects compiled by STEMWorks are great for getting kids interested in computer science. They’ll see just how code works in a physical context for controlling robots and other devices. Engineering is another great field with huge demand, and hands-on projects can show students how interesting this field can be, like the engineers behind amusement and water park operations.
It’s easy for students to get overwhelmed or discouraged when faced with all the possibilities of computer science, but it’s just as easy to get them excited using these and other great resources. Commit to using Computer Science Education week as a springboard for your students’ achievement in computer science. Even if they don’t go on to pursue a career in the field, knowing the basics of code will help your students go far once they’re out in the working world. Give them a leg up by making computer science fun and accessible!
Sarah Daren has been a consultant for startups in multiple industries including health and wellness, wearable technology, nursing, and education. When she's not watching the New York Yankees play, Sarah enjoys practicing yoga and reading a good book on the beach.