Should CS Principles be the first CS course in High Schools?

June 29, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Last week I made short 30 minute presentation about CS Principles at Georgia Tech. Barbara Ericson from Georgia Tech was conducting a computer programming course workshop for teachers and gave me a 30 minute slot to talk about my pilot experiences. There were teachers from all over Georgia as well as some from a few neighboring states.

 In Georgia we have a computing pathway with three courses: Computing In the Modern World, Beginning Programming and AP Computer Science. I piloted the CS Principles course with my Beginning Programming students. I mapped the Georgia standards with the CS Principles learning objectives. Last year I covered the curriculum for both standards. As I spoke about this, one of the teachers raised a question that if CS Principles is a breadth rather than depth course, is it more suitable as a first CS course for high schools?

High school students need one course that introduces them to computing: Hardware, software, networking, image editing, web design and graphic design, etc. CS Principles is more focused towards the computer science aspect of computing.  It is about problem solving and logic development. It is about using tools to create a software product than learning to use a software tool.  There has to be one course before CS Principles that lets students get a broad tour of computing including the parts of the computer, usage of various computer applications and get a glimpse into the world of computer science. CS Principles / AP CS Principles can then be the next course after Computing In the Modern World.

 On a final note, I am excited to announce that I have been selected to pilot the portfolio assessment for CS Principles. Fun times ahead!

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