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Maybe CS Class Isn’t the Best Way To Expose Most Kids To CS

Long-time Slashdot reader theodp writes: “If we want all students to learn computer science (CS for All), we have to go to where the students are,” writes University of Michigan
Grand Valley State University CS Professor Mark Guzdial. “Unfortunately, that’s not computer science class. In most US states, less than 5% of high school students take a course in computer science.

“Programming is applicable and useful in many domains today, so one answer is to use programming in science, mathematics, social studies, and other non-CS classes. We take programming to where the students are, and hope to increase their interest and knowledge about CS.”

America’s National Science Foundation (NSF) was intrigued enough by this idea to fund
Creating Adoptable Computing Education Integrated into Social Studies Classes, a three-year project created by Guzdial and his fellow history professor Tamara Shreiner, which “aims to provide more students computing education by integrating programming activities into social studies classes and to use the computing to enhance students’ data literacy.” Along the same lines, the NSF has also greenlighted Northwestern University’s CS professor Marcelo Worsley’s Computational Thinking and Physical Computing in Physical Education for this fall, which will bring computer science to K-5 gym classes.

While the tech giants have lobbied for billions in spending on “rigorous” K-12 CS courses, could it be that the best “CS class” for most K-12 students is no CS class?

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