“Coding is a good gateway, but elementary students need to engage in more project-based activities to develop problem-solving skills,” says Hicks. “We need to provide opportunities for a broader application of skills with real situations and applications.”
“At CodeAdvantage, our K-12 curriculum focuses on basic concepts, hands-on activities, integrating arts and crafts,” says Chaturvedi. “These kids learn the if / then principle, basic drag-and-drop, and building code. You want students to reach a point where they understand the line of code and the logic behind it – and make it fun in the process. “
Along with a lack of standards and established curriculum, schools struggle to retain staff who have a computer science background. “There aren’t a lot of computer science teachers around,” explains Baskin. “The field has been doing outreach to other subject matter teachers to train them, so they can come in and teach computer science as well as their focus.”
Tech Support for Learning Computer Science
In addition to these challenges, many schools are well positioned following the pandemic with the technology they need to support and enhance computer science for their students. Students need input devices, which can include Lenovo Chromebooks, Microsoft Surface tablets or even smartphones. Internet access and wireless network connectivity are also key.
NETWORKING ESSENTIALS: These devices boost digital equity, school capacity and speed.
For younger students, most coding and programming apps – such as Roblox, Minecraft: Education Edition and MIT App Inventor – offer free or low-cost access.
Outside the classroom, schools will want to make sure kids at home or in related after-school activities have access to the same input devices and connectivity that they have at school continuing their computer science skills.