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Beyond Hour of Code

That was the title I chose for a recent workshop that Vicky Sedgwick (@VisionsByVicky) and I presented at the local Computing Using Educators (CUE) Conference in California. I had meet Vicky a few months earlier at another local CUE Conference where she was presenting a session about programming with elementary and junior high students. We chatted after the session about other platforms that students at the elementary level could use. That was prior to Hour of Code.

We kept in touch over Twitter. I attended an Edcamp conference in another neighboring county which was held after the Hour of Code event. During Edcamps the participants suggest topics and other interested teachers attend either to learn more or to help inform the teachers. I was pleasantly surprised to see that there were three sessions related to programming. The teachers were eager to get more information about teaching programming. I attended all three and was able to promote CSTA and help inform the teachers about teaching programming. I decided to apply to present at the local CUE conference about how coding could be used in other subject areas. Vicky had been considering the same topic. So we teamed up.

Our session was scheduled as the last session of the day. I was concerned, but 15 educators attended our session. They were eager to learn and we had information to provide. The session was well received and I once again promoted CSTA.

But that is not the only type of increase in interest that I have seen. In California, there has been legislation proposed to encourage computer science in elementary schools. I was able to consult with the Chief of Staff for the legislator that is authoring the legislation. Another piece of legislation that is making its way through the assembly is one that would allow districts to count computer science toward high school graduation. However, the computer science class must have the "C" designation for entrance to University of California/California State Universities. The computer science teachers will need to work as a team to get this new designation for their computer science classes.

Last year I attempted to have one of my local assemblypersons pass a resolution to recognize "Computer Science Education Week." I was unsuccessful for 2013. However, I contacted local assembly people again and found one that was willing to propose the resolution. It is now making its way through the legislature for 2014.

Do I feel the exposure of Computer Science through Hour of Code has increased the interest in computer science? I do. I want to keep this momentum going! I noticed on the Code.org website that there are six states, California included, that have legislation pending to make computer science count as math or science credit. I encourage you to visit the website and if you live in one of the states, click on the link and tell your representative that you support the legislation

What changes have you noticed since Hour of Code?

What have you been doing since Hour of Code to promote computer science? We need to keep to keep the momentum moving.

What can you do?

Myra Deister
At-Large Representative

Comments

The "c" code for UC is for math, so this is a requirement that the CS course be allowed to substitute for a math course, not a "math or science" course.

That's not a bad choice, other than that those who are going to major in CS would be better off dropping a science course in high school than dropping a math course.

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