In today’s world computers are part of our daily interactions. From the smartphone alarm that wakes you up in the morning, to the laptop where you spend eight or more hours a day, computers are integrated into our everyday lives. While computer and technology literacy teaches kids (and adults) vital real-world skills for functioning in today’s and future societies, there’s a need for understanding computers and the technology around us at a deeper level. This is where computer science education enters the classroom scene.
Computer science education is increasing in popularity as educators and school administrators begin to recognize the value and importance of it in public schools. Computer science provides an opportunity for kids to learn technical skills that will likely lead the way for many jobs in the future, but also bring up irreplaceable 21st Century skills, like critical thinking and collaboration, that are important to ensure kids’ continued success.
Computer science careers are slated to increase 12.5 percent by 2024, expected to result in nearly half a million available jobs. These future jobs, in addition to other STEM careers, are paving the way for computer science classes to become mandatory common core curriculum in more U.S. states and other countries.
At Sphero, we understand the importance of both the technical proficiencies and the softer 21st Century skills learned through computer science. That’s why we created Computer Science Foundations, a supplemental, standards-aligned computer science curriculum to reinforce the coding concepts and enhance the cross-curricular content being taught in classrooms around the world.
In this blog, we’ll cover the national and international standards that Computer Science Foundations is aligned with and explore how to get started with computer science in your classroom. (Spoiler alert: you don’t have to be a STEM teacher to teach computer science!) Let’s jump in and learn more.
What are the benefits of a standards-aligned computer science curriculum?
As with any new lessons integrated into your curriculum, they must be easily implemented and complement what you’re already teaching. Since Computer Science Foundations is aligned to national and international standards for public school curriculum, the lessons can be seamlessly integrated to reinforce the computer science concepts already being covered in your classes based on those standards. This makes your teaching more purposeful and more effective.
Computer Science Foundations explores nine different content themes and is designed for learner progression, so students can grow from beginner computer science activities to advanced coding lessons.
Best of all, Sphero robots paired with Computer Science Foundations make learning computer science fun! Ask any kid who has experienced a computer science lesson through coding a Sphero BOLT and you’ll likely hear first and foremost how fun they are.
Which standards are Computer Science Foundations courses aligned with?
Computer Science Foundations lessons are aligned with several national and international standards. Below is a comprehensive list of standards and you can go here for more detail on how each lesson within courses 1-3 is aligned.
NGSS - Next Generation Science Standards
The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are K–12 science content standards. Standards set the expectations for what students should know and be able to do. The NGSS were developed by states to improve science education for all students.
TEKS - Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills
The Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), which are the state standards for what students should know and be able to do.
CSTA - Computer Science Teachers Association
Not sure if your state or has an active CSTA chapter? Check out their full list here and request to join or start a new chapter with them today.
Indiana Academic Standards for Science
How do you get started teaching computer science with Sphero?
If you’re new to teaching computer science, not a STEM teacher, or a parent who is now teaching your kids from the living room, we’ve got a quick start guide to help you get rolling and coding in no time.
What makes Computer Science Foundations an ideal entry point to teaching computer science is that the content is cross-curricular, so it can be implemented across a variety of subject areas. ELA classes, and subjects like social studies, history, and art, can be taught through computer science lessons while embracing a STEM mindset.
Additionally, kids, students, and parents don’t need any prior experience with computer science or coding to get started. The included guides are educator-focused and provide support throughout so there is no prerequisite knowledge required.
For even more support and ways to get started, check out our educator getting started resources page on sphero.com.
The need for a quality computer science curriculum is at an all-time high as many educators navigate new territory in teaching computer science in their classrooms. If you’re curious to explore computer science in your classroom, try three public Computer Science Foundations lessons in the Sphero Edu app today!
Nature 3: https://edu.sphero.com/cwists/preview/36704x
Empathy 3: https://edu.sphero.com/cwists/preview/36724x
Brain Breakers 8: https://edu.sphero.com/cwists/preview/36745x
Need a customized solution or have additional questions? Contact a Sphero computer science specialist for more information.