Computer Science in BPS

 

In the increasingly technological world that we live in, computational thinking and programming skills are essential for students’ success in career and higher education. Soon, Computer Science will not an elective but an expectation in K-12 schools in Massachusetts and across the nation. Boston Public Schools and OIIT’s Digital Learning Team is committed to ensuring that all BPS students are future-ready by providing necessary resources for schools and teachers. 

 

Why is Computer Science so important?  

 
As technology makes its way into almost all aspects of our lives, understanding how computers and technologies work is increasingly important for our students. This need is reflected in the development of the new Massachusetts Digital Literacy and Computer Science Standards currently in draft. In addition to traditional digital literacy components such as cybersafety and use of productivity tools, Computational Thinking has been included as one of the strands.

Computational Thinking is the problem solving skill that is behind programming, including breaking down a problem into smaller steps, designing logical algorithm to solve it, and troubleshooting when something goes wrong. Often called the “new literacy,” computational thinking is a foundational skill that is essential in any discipline or career field that students choose to go into. When we teach “coding” or programming, our goal is to teach students computational thinking. 

With international movements such as Hour of Code and national efforts like Computer Science For All Initiative announced by the White House in January 2016, the momentum is building for digital literacy and computer science education in K-12. 
 

What does Computer Science look like in K-12?

The graphic below is a visualization of skills that students should be learning at each grade span, along with a snapshot of software, hardware, and curriculum tools that are commonly used to teach computational thinking in preK-12. These tools are already being used in some BPS schools. Please note that this is in no way an all-inclusive picture. New tools are constantly being introduced and we simply cannot include all of them. If you know of a great tool that should be included, please let us know!
 
cs pathway
 
Please click below for resources for each grade span or use the menu on left to navigate:

PreK to Elementary   Elementary  Middle  High
 

Upcoming and Ongoing Professional Development Opportunities

  • Integrating Scratch Webinar Series: DLT will be hosting a four-week online PD about using Scratch to integrate coding into elementary and middle school curriculum. Webinars will run from March 14 to April 4. For more information, please see this flyer.
  • Exploring Computer Science (ECS) Summer 2016 PD for BPS High School Teachers
    ECS is a nationally recognized introductory CS curriculum designed for 9th grade students.
  • MA Digital Literacy and Computer Science Standards Feedback Sessions: DLT will be hosting feedback sessions on Monday, March 21 (5-7pm) and Wednesday, March 30 (4-6pm) at the Bolling Building. This will be an opportunity for educators to get together to discuss the standards and provide feedback before the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) votes on adoption of the DLCS standards. Register HERE.
  • Code.org Online PD for K-5 teachers
    This free online PD introduces educators to Code Studio, an online platform to teach coding to kids as young as K2.

Additional PD resources will be posted as they become available.

Follow us on Twitter at #bpspln for up-to-date announcements or contact Rashmi Pimprikar (rpimprikar@bostonpublicschools.org), Nick Gonzales (ngonzales@bostonpublicschools.org) or Haruna Hosokawa (hhosokawa@bostonpublicschools.org) for more information.
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