Huge progress in Computer Science education this week

Huge progress in Computer Science education this week

A lot has happened this past week in our effort to build computer science education in Iowa — and nationally — to help address the gap in computer science offerings available in schools today.

The backstory: getting computer science into schools

Code.org is a global nonprofit, backed by some of the world’s largest tech companies, that teaches kids the fundamentals of computer science. If you have kids, they’ve likely tried the entry-level Hour of Code program at school or at home. (If not, it’s a great place to start for kids ages 5 and up, we use Hour of Code constantly at our Coder Dojo program in Cedar Rapids as a first step).

But code.org has also built an exceptional curriculum for schools to use for elementary, middle, and high school AP-level students. The goal is to train teachers on the curriculum, and in turn, produce students familiar with computer science as a potential career option.

Our nonprofit, NewBoCo, is based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and is focused on computer science in schools in our state. We are the Code.org partner for Iowa, and have already trained teachers all over the state in our first batch in 2017, and are growing the program dramatically in 2018.

$200 million in public support for Computer Science

Yesterday, the White House announced a commitment of $200 million per year to fund K-12 Computer Science in schools. This is a huge leap forward. While there are details that remain to be finalized, it is imperative that the US invests heavily in this and other skills that will be the foundation for our future economy and well-being. This marks a major shift in the right direction.

$300 million in private support for Computer Science

Additionally, some of America’s largest private companies, including Microsoft, Google, Amazon and Facebook committed $300 million over five years to fund Computer Science in schools. Locking in the commitment is critical as we continue to enhance the educational system in this country.

Iowa is pushing Computer Science in schools forward on numerous fronts

In addition to NewBoCo’s efforts, many others around the state are pushing to improve kids’ access to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education. The Iowa Governor’s STEM advisory council has been actively testing and scaling programs around the state over the past few years, with many of them very successfully producing the outcomes we need.

Schools all over the state of Iowa are working to improve STEM education. Cedar Rapids-based Iowa BIG, for example, has high school students designing and building pedestrian bridges and virtual reality experiences.

How to get involved

Parents

If you have kids that are looking for coding instruction right now:

Teachers and administrators

If you’re a Iowa-based teacher, parent or school administrator looking to get involved, reach out to Samantha Dahlby, K-12 Education Coordinator at samantha@newbo.co.

Sponsors and donors

If you’re a corporate partner or an individual that would like to financially support NewBoCo’s mission to bring computer science to every student in Iowa, contact Kaitlin Byers, Director of Development, at kaitlin@newbo.co.


Eric Engelmann founded Geonetric in 1999, and presently works as the Executive Director of NewBoCo in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He’s a board member at Scrum Alliance and the Technology Association of Iowa.


Originally published at NewBoCo.

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