Computer Science

What is Computer Science?

If you are reading this, you have asked yourself this question, what is computer science? If you are a K-12 educator, two of the most recent buzz words that are going around are “computer science.” If you are anything like me, those two words caused complete and utter terror within my brain, but then, as I typically do, I set out to conquer that fear!

So what did I do you may ask? Well, first off, I took it upon myself to read, read, read, and then read some more. I read books about coding, I scoured the internet in search of more info about computer science and how to integrate into the curriculum. I even made a Pinterest Board to save all my resources.

But what I found most useful was to create a visual that allowed me to put computer science in perspective (see image below). This is for my use only. I needed something that represented the meaning behind why computer science is mainstreamed now.

teaching-computer-science
Making Sense of Computer Science

Innovation, Creativity, Expression and Career Readiness The “big idea” is that we want our students to be career ready, we want them to be able to express themselves, to be innovators and have a medium to create.

Computational Thinking & PBL – We want our students to be able to think computationally. We want them to be able to break bigger problems into smaller more manageable parts. We want them to be able to analyze a situation and look for patterns. We want them to be able to remove any unnecessary parts of a problem and make one solution work for multiple problems. Finally, we want them to be able to provide step by step instructions on how to do something.

Click HERE, to learn more about Computational Thinking.

STEM & STEAM – Interest is STEM in the classroom has exploded in the past 10 years or so. We now know that we need to ensure that we are providing students learning experiences that encompasses an interdisciplinary and applied approach to Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math.

Computer Science – This is where computer science comes into play. In essence, in my opinion, I believe that computer science is solving real-world problems and creating solutions using computers. In a world where technology is now ubiquitous, our students need to be equip to be producer of information rather than consumers.

Programming and Coding – This is where I ran into some conflicting information. Everyone had a different opinion about the meaning of these terms. However, I found that keeping it simple and separate was the best option for me. Programming is writing instructions for a computer to perform and coding is programming with a tool.

I must say, taking the time to think this through provided me the needed insight to intentionally and purposefully educate others about computer science. I see the “big picture” and why it’s important for students to be developing their CS skills at the elementary school level. We are growing their problem-solving skills, their ability to communicate and collaborate, and their ability to logically work through problems and create solutions.

Computers science is just a means to work faster and more efficiently and effectively.

I would love to hear your thoughts about computer science! Please feel free to leave a comment!

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