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New Developments in the Exploring Computer Science Curriculum

Many of you are familiar with the Exploring Computer Science (ECS) curriculum, developed in partnership with CSTA as part of an NSF grant. Though initially developed to broaden the participation in computing for Los Angeles Unified School District high school students, many teachers and educational leaders throughout the nation have adopted some or all of the ECS curriculum in a variety of school and informal educational settings.

This spring, we made some substantive changes (along with minor edits) to strengthen the curriculum. As in years past, our revision cycle relies on the feedback of Los Angeles teachers who have taught the curriculum to students and have ideas for improvement. Newly released version 3 includes several large edits to Unit 1 (Human Computer Interaction) and Unit 2 (Problem Solving) with some smaller edits to Unit 3 (Web Design). We are excited about these changes and feel really good about the improvements made in this 3rd edition. The pdf document with daily lesson plans and associated electronic files are all available to download in a zip file from the CSTA website.

Also, in collaboration with UCLA's Center for Embedded Network Sensing (CENS) and Google, we recently piloted an alternative Unit 6 (Data Modeling) with a small group of Los Angeles teachers. In this new pilot unit, students were given smart-phones to document the assets and concerns in their community. They used the phones to map these chill/stress locations, and used the statistical programming language of R to synthesize their findings. With the decreasing cost of smart phones and the knowledge students already hold about their community, we found this to be a dynamic unit for teaching students about the relevancy and power of computer science. It is our hope that we will eventually get enough funding for classroom sets of smart-phones for all of our Los Angeles computer science teachers.
Stay-tuned for more updates on Exploring Computer Science.

Joanna Goode
CSTA Equtiy Chair

Comments

Thanks for the info....the alternative Unit 6 sounds really cool! Any chance you could put out that curriculum as well?

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