Computer Science in the New Year

Computer Science in the New Year
Posted on 01/06/2018
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The beginning of the year is a time to reflect on the past and look ahead to the years to come. In this spirit, National Technology Day (January 6th) celebrates achievements in technology and looks to the future of technological development, made possible by the next generation of innovators in computer science. To ensure the next generation is prepared, Educational Service District 123 provides computer science education support throughout our region as part of a consortium of four Eastern Washington ESDs awarded a $190,000 computer science grant this year.

ESD 123 has received two other computer science grants in the last three years. In past years, Computer Science Fundamentals, a Code.org program, has been a main focus for development, as well as Computer Science in Science and Computer Science in Algebra. This year, in addition to continued fundamentals training, ESD 123 is providing robotics training, particularly for middle schools, through Robotics 101 and a planned robotics workshop.

This year, as well, Walla Walla School District has partnered with TEALS, a program sponsored by Microsoft Philanthropies that brings teachers and tech industry volunteers together to build and grow high school computer science programs. Georgia Boatman, ESD 123 Science Coordinator, says she is hoping to get at least one more district on board with this program before the deadline.

Beyond simply teaching students how to use technology, computer science education involves understanding how technology works and learning to develop new programs and applications through coding and engineering. According to Georgia Boatman, it is increasingly important that all students graduate with these abilities. In addition to the benefit of learning to think logically and creatively to recognize and solve problems, most professions today require some element of technological competency. “You aren’t going to find many areas of work you won’t need [computer science] in,” says Boatman.

Computer science is particularly significant in Washington, home to agencies like Boeing and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) which have focuses in technology development and research. As such, the state has adopted K-12 Computer Science Learning Standards to foster consistent computer science education and combat the lack of awareness about its content and impact. (For more information on CS education in Washington, see Code.org’s Washington state breakdown.)

Whatever new technologies become available in 2018 and the years to come, ESD 123 will continue to support our students are prepared for college and their careers through computer science education.


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