Get Computer Science into Schools Through Other Classes?

Mark Guzdial posts about Computer Science Education in his Computing Education blog. (I subscribe to email that updates whenever he posts.)  His recent post “Get CS into Schools through Math and Science Classes: What we might lose” is one of his many posts that I like.

Mark Guzdial lists three reasons not to pursue CS through the math/science model (see the post for detail):

  1. Can science and math teachers help us broaden participation in computing?
  2. Do we lose our spot at the table?
  3. Do we lose significant funding for CS in schools?

Math and Science students certainly can benefit by learning CS concepts and CS approaches to modeling and problem solving.  And there is a need in the natural sciences for abilities to analyze data sets in ways CS can help. (See bioinformatics.) However, the benefits of separate CS courses are unlikely to be realized by including CS-related units in other subjects.  Expecting teachers, whose primary interest is in one subject, to teach a secondary subject within their courses is unlikely to lead to adequate coverage of the secondary subject, specially when they are measured by how well their students learn primary subject areas for standardized tests. This approach marginalizes the importance of CS.

The answer is to grow Computer Science courses in our K-12 schools.

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