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Teaching Computer Science in General Education (K-12+)
This is the “quick and dirty” summary of my project. I simplified this post to the important details without the filler information to further support my case during my presentation in class. 
 

Summary

  • Computer Science: The study of the design and operation of computer hardware and software and the application of computer technology to science, business, and arts.
  • The world is moving to an era of technology so it is vital for everyone to have the knowledge on how to operate them.
  • Even if the individual won’t pursue a computer science/STEM degree, the skills acquired from taking these computer science classes can be carried over whether they’re a nurse, pastry chef, professional skateboarder, journalist, and etc.
  • There are courses in the general education curriculum that doesn’t apply to the student’s desired field but still benefit them through the skills and knowledge acquired as well as help form the student into a “well-rounded person”.
  • Some skills acquired from taking computer science courses that benefits everyone includes:
    • The Process of Debugging: Students will learn how to identify and remove errors in any problems and situation. This teaches students that may take more than one try to find an acceptable solution.
      • Example: It may take multiple tries before the individual perfects a recipe or pass a class.
    • Teamwork: Students will learn the tricks and trade of teamwork ethics. In today’s society, you need to know how to work in a team to get the project/task/job done.
      • Example: A chef who took computer science before can benefit because they will be at ease cooperating with their fellow chefs to bring out a glorious meal for hundreds of their guests.
    • Problem-Solving Skills: Students will become more familiar and comfortable with approaching problems. When stumbling upon a problem, the student will devise plans in how to approach the problem and solve it in an orderly manner.
      • Example: There’s a pipe leak at home. The student will know the steps such as discovering the problem, identifying some key points, find possible solutions, and carry them out.
    • Comfort with Technology: Students will not be intimidated by the technology they may stumble upon in their life. With plentiful of exposure, they will realize that technology helps make their overall duties more efficient.
      • Example: A nurse with computer science exposure will not be as intimidated by the many medical devices available.
  • From personal experience, I didn’t get much exposure to the field until my senior year when we created a group to compete in cyber defense competitions. AP Computer Science wasn’t taught at my school so it makes exposure more limited. Starting early will help students interested in the field (and others) get a head start in computer science.
  • There are other general education courses that exposes students to other fields they may end up majoring in.
    • Biology for future marine biologists, music for future world-class musicians, and etc.
  • According to US News/code.org, by the year 2020, there will be 1.4 million new jobs in the computer science field while the workforce will have 400,000 computer science majors to fill up the positions.
  • Computer scientists help create and innovate the software and hardware of today. Take example of the operating system in your phone.
  • Forbes stated that computer science graduates earn an average starting salary of $60,000 a year (for those who care more about the salary).
  • California’s legislatures have been presented several bills regarding implementing computer science into the educational curriculum (K-12). Hopefully the bills will be approved and implemented as soon as possible.
Q&A Time
  1. Q: What do you mean by computer science since it’s a broad field?
    A: Yes, computer science is a broad field so there are many subfields to choose from such as data structures, AI, networking, operating systems, software programming/engineering, ____ design, and etc. I’m not saying we should teach C++ to 1st graders; maybe teach them about the components in a computer and have them put parts together. If real computer parts are “too dangerous”, some children-friendly parts can be produced while representing the parts. Maybe the memory card has “sharp corners” so produce a replicate that has smoother edges made of some other materials such as wood. This assembly component can help enhance problem and puzzle-solving skills in the student.
  2. Q: Why did you choose this topic?
    A: I received some e-mails through one of the cyber security events I participated in regarding signing a petition to make computer science a part of the general education curriculum- the high school’s A-G requirements in particular. I took the idea and expanded a little for convenience but the issue is still being brought up to the legislatures. Also, I wanted to be a bit unique with my topic since other people in class chose common/popular topics to cover.
  3. Q: You’re not even a computer science major……..?
    A: Computer Information Systems is a crossover between business and computer science; but more in the networking/system administrator/security/IT/similar route. This includes business because people deal with businesses directly by maybe fixing networking problems, implementing features, and etc. As stated above, there are skills acquired without being a computer science major directly.
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