Two U.S. Pilot Programs Putting Coding into Curriculum
Are our school curricula preparing children for the future need of workplace? Think again.
Last month, Beaver became the first school in the United States to implement computer coding into each of its classes.
MacDonald, who’s been teaching at Beaver for 16 years, is head of the math department. He also holds an MFA in poetry.
After taking charge of the department some years back, he started to introduce Python lightly into his math classes. It was nothing extensive; just some simple ways to create shortcuts for longer equations and problems. Most of his students picked it up pretty well.
Then, following a sabbatical trip to India two years ago, where he worked on a variety of app-building projects with other students, he realized that the discipline could be used in studies outside of just math. He pitched the idea to other department heads at Beaver and, after rigorous planning, it was decided the entire academic curriculum at the school would include coding in some shape.
Most of the staff recognizes that students might be better versed in programming than they are. But instead of being intimidated, MacDonald says, it’s something they’re embracing as a way to bring out a more two-sided-conversation approach in the classroom.
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At the same time, in New York City, 20 schools — 10 middle, 10 high — are undergoing a software engineering pilot this school year that’s adding a computer science course into each institution’s curriculum.
Two selected teachers will head the class for each school, all of which encompass all five boroughs of the city. Sixth and ninth graders can sign up for the classes; the courses could be expanded into other grades in the coming years.
The reception in the schools in New York has been enthusiastic from both teachers and students(parents).
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott today announced the 20 schools selected for the new Software Engineering Pilot program to begin at the start of the next school year. The schools will receive comprehensive computer science and software engineering curriculum for the 1,000 students expected to participate this fall. By 2016, the program will grow to 3,500 students.
The Software Engineering Pilot will also provide teacher training for the instructors leading the classes. Schools will use rigorous academic curriculum and have access to technology resources to support program instruction. Participating high schools will also receive support in applying for New York State Education Department approval, which can award a Career and Technical Education endorsement to graduating students who complete the program.
Voice from business owners :
“Hiring programmers and engineers is one of the biggest challenges facing AppNexus today and is critical to our success and growth,” said Mike Nolet, Cofounder and Chief Technology Officer. “We applaud Mayor Bloomberg’s leadership in preparing students for the jobs of the future. These students will surely benefit from learning computer science, and we will be hiring them as soon as possible!”