K-12 Computer Science – Barriers (and how to overcome them)

Rikki Kite

ROSE Blog: Rikki's Open Source Exchange

Mar 30, 2010 GMT
Rikki Kite

Earlier today I was inspired by maddog's blog post about his efforts to get open source into high schools in his area, so when I received an afternoon email describing the summer offerings at my daughter's school, I responded with a reminder that I'm eager to help get technology thrown into the mix of Latin, Algebra, and art offerings.

I have visions of a rainy summer afternoon spent taking apart computers or putting together web pages with a group of tween girls dancing through my motherly head.

The Anita Borg Institute posted a new study on their site today, New Report from Anita Borg Institute, CSTA and University of Arizona Addresses Equity Issues in K-12 Computer Science Educations. One highlight that stood out to me is: Computer Science teachers suffer from isolation, lack of resources, no consistent certification requirements, and a lack of access to partnerships that would increase their capacity.

Among the recommendations is this wordy bit: Engage industry representatives with K-12 teachers to provide an accurate and up-to-date picture of the computational thinking skills that a diverse body of students needs to engage successfully in the workforce.

So here are my questions:

  • How do you engage teachers who are afraid of newer technologies or just not interested?
  • What are your suggestions to teachers who are interested but don't know how to reach out to industry representatives to get the resources they want and need for their cash-strapped schools?

(I'd love to hear your personal experiences and success stories, too.)

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