computer science

Teachers need help teaching computer science

During Computer Science Education Week, companies and organizations are rallying to help schools connect students with coding and programming

Teachers believe computer science can aide to their students’ success, but 75 percent are concerned the federal and state governments aren’t doing enough to equip schools to build students’ skills. Teachers also believe big tech companies like Microsoft, Google, and Apple should help schools build those skills.

An October report from examines the state of K-12 computer science education and notes that, despite half a million computing jobs sitting open in the U.S., schools still have a lot of progress to make.

Across 24 states, just 35 percent of high schools in the U.S. teach computer science—and minority, rural, and economically disadvantaged students are even less likely to go to a school offering computer science.

To make coding instruction a bit easier, Microsoft launched a new Minecraft Hour of Code tutorial, the Voyage Aquatic, which takes learners on an aquatic adventure to find treasure and solve puzzles with coding. Voyage Aquatic encourages students to think creatively, try different coding solutions and apply what they learn in mysterious Minecraft worlds.

Minecraft: Education Edition also launched a major update this month, which is intended to make it easier to learn and teach coding using Minecraft. The Code Builder Update is now available for all users on Windows 10, macOS, and iPad. Users can code with Microsoft MakeCode and Tynker, and open Code Builder directly in-game with a simple keyboard or touch command. Minecraft Education offers professional development, tutorials and free lessons for all educators—no matter a user’s experience level.

Microsoft also announced a new commitment of $10 million to help ensure every state will have passed policies to expand access to computer science, and that every school in the U.S. will have access to professional development—all by 2020.

Laura Ascione

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