Kick off your Hour of Code with Minecraft’s help

Just in time for Computer Science Education Week and the Hour of Code, Microsoft Corp. and Code.org have unveiled the Minecraft Hour of Code Designer, a coding tutorial for students and educators.

The Hour of Code is an annual global campaign held during Computer Science Education Week, which this year runs Dec. 5–11.

The new web-based tutorial, available for free at http://code.org/minecraft, helps novice coders to create and share their own simple “Minecraft” game, and is designed to empower anyone to begin learning the problem-solving and critical thinking skills required in today’s tech-fueled world.…Read More

Report: Gamifying computer science is an easy place to start

With efforts to expand computer science education growing across the nation, some schools still grapple with a big problem: they don’t have the staff or space to accommodate a computer science course.

In fact, though interest in computer science education, and access to it, is growing, a recent report found that not enough students are taking high-quality computer science classes at the high school and university levels.

The report found that just half of U.S. states actually count computer science as a math or science credit rather than an elective, and 29 states lack computer science teacher certification programs.…Read More

6 ways to support computer science education

New report offers policy recommendations to sustain momentum for computer science education

U.S. schools should make every effort to expand computer science education to keep up with workforce demands, according to a new report from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF).

And though interest in computer science education, and access to it, is growing, the report found that not enough students are taking high-quality computer science classes at the high school and university levels.

The report found that just half of U.S. states actually count computer science as a math or science credit rather than an elective, and 29 states lack computer science teacher certification programs.…Read More

Online petition urges computer science education funding

Policy makers, educators, and the private sector ask for federal investments in computer science education

An online petition urges Congress to provide $250 million to help schools and districts integrate computer science into the curriculum.

In a letter sent to Congress, the authors note that technology is quickly changing society, and “participating in this world requires access to computer science in our schools.”

They also state that more than 100 school districts are working to roll out computer science courses, and 20 states have passed policies around the subject and are in the process of identifying professional development for computer science teachers. But despite pockets of growth, three-quarters of U.S. schools do not offer meaningful computer science courses.…Read More

Oracle bolsters computer science education

Part of $3.3 billion annual investment to advance computer science education and increase diversity in technology fields globally

In conjunction with The White House Science Fair 2016, Oracle and The White House recently announced Oracle’s plan to invest $200 million in direct and in-kind support for computer science education in the United States over the next 18 months.

Oracle’s pledge supports the Administration’s Computer Science for All initiative and is part of the company’ greater annual worldwide investment of $3.3 billion to empower computer science educators and engage diverse student populations globally. Today’s commitment expects to reach more than 232,000 students in over 1,100 U.S. institutions through Oracle Academy, its philanthropic computer science-focused educational program that impacts more than 2.6 million students in 106 countries.

In 2015, only 2 percent of all participants in the College Board’s AP program took Computer Science and a mere 22 percent of those participants were female.[1] Yet, programming jobs are growing 50 percent faster than the market overall, according to new research by Oracle Academy and Burning Glass Technologies, a leading labor market company. The study (2016), which analyzed and interpreted real-time data from millions of online job postings from nearly 40,000 sources, revealed that demand for computer science, programming, and coding skills is large, growing, and far more widespread than just IT jobs.…Read More

4 ways forward-thinking districts are inspiring more students to code

How innovative districts are exposing more students to coding and closing the participation gap

Recently, President Barack Obama announced his administration’s commitment to provide computer science education for all students. Endorsement by the White House is valuable to those new to introducing computer science (CS) in the classroom, as well as others, like members of the Digital Promise League of Innovative Schools, who have championed CS for years.

Members of the League, a coalition of 73 of the most forward-thinking U.S. public school districts, have long prioritized computational thinking and CS education for their students. Thirty League districts, representing over one million students, made commitments to the White House to further the President’s proposal.

Districts in the League have committed to developing thoughtful, long-term solutions to overcome the obstacles that many populations of students face  one of the world’s most important languages. Today’s League leaders are exposing students to computational thinking at a young age, giving current educators the opportunity to get certified, making CS a graduation requirement, and providing out-of-school learning opportunities, all of which are helping to close the participation gap in CS education.…Read More

Destination Imagination, Oracle Academy launch computer science challenge

Organizations join forces on the development of two coding challenges

Destination Imagination (DI), an educational nonprofit organization dedicated to teaching students the creative process skills needed to become the next generation of innovators, entrepreneurs and industry pioneers, has collaborated with Oracle Academy to advance coding and computer science opportunities that will help students thrive in the future workforce. Oracle Academy works globally to expand knowledge, skills, innovation and diversity in technology through computer science education.

“There is an urgent need to provide students and teachers access to computer science education,” said Dr. Chuck Cadle, CEO of Destination Imagination. “The Association for Computing Machinery estimates that by 2020, one out of every two STEM jobs will be in computing. However, nine out of 10 K-12 schools do not currently provide computer science education. As computing technology continues to grow and evolve, it’s essential we provide students with affordable access to computer science opportunities that will inspire and engage them in career-ready learning opportunities. We’re excited to work with Oracle Academy to ensure students connect to the needs of the future workforce.”

Through the collaboration, Destination Imagination will release two new computer science challenges—Dear Hero and Co{DI}ng Space—in hopes of engaging 10,000 students in computer science education this year. Each challenge is designed to spark kids’ interest in coding and encourage students of diverse backgrounds to incorporate their artistic expression while learning skills such as collaboration, storyboarding and perseverance.…Read More