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Where is the CS Pipeline?

I was contacted by a CS/Math teacher last month who had an interest in hosting CS camps for elementary school students. Since our local CSTA Advocacy group was scheduled to meet that week, I invited him to attend the meeting and we had a great chat about CS education, advocacy, children, and many other interesting and relevant topics.

To me, the most thought-provoking conversation started with: Ask a student in a 4th grade math class why she is taking 5th grade math next year. She'll say, "It's the next course." Ask a student in 9th grade Geometry why he is taking Algebra II next year. He'll say, "It's the next course." Ask a student in pre-Calculus why she is taking Calculus next year. She'll say, "It's the next course."

Our conversation continued with, "We do not have that pipeline in computer science" The 4th grade student has to be exposed to CS and there has to be "a next course." There has to ALWAYS be a next course in CS.

We are failing drastically at all educational levels because there is no CS pipeline. Few elementary schools and middle schools offer any course in CS. Some high schools offer AP CS A. But AP CS A is not "the next course" for most students. It is the only CS course. We try desperately to have our high schools implement a CS course and/or count CS as a math or science. This is a start. But one CS course isn't the answer. We have to build that pipeline from the ground up.

Computer Science Education Week, December 9-15, is a great time to start to start building that pipeline. The Hour of Code, part of CS Ed Week, aims to introduce more than 10 million students of all ages to the basics of coding, demystifying computing for those who think programming is hard.

Help build the CS pipeline. Visit an elementary school classroom and introduce the students to CS! See:

http://csedweek.org/

for ideas and tutorials.

Fran Trees
CSTA Board of Directors-Chapter Liaison

Comments

I am new to teaching, software engineer recently turned teacher. I have this same question. What is the CS pipeline? I am at a public charter school in NH teaching 6-12 graders. Is there a list of recommended courses and curriculum? I am currently teaching an Introduction to Computers which is outdated curriculum focused on Word, Excel, etc. I am interested in the Exploring CS curriculum. But what else is there for a comprehensive CS curriculum for 6-12 grade?

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