If you haven’t heard yet, coding is a big deal, and for good reason. Computer science (CS) job opportunities pay well and are growing at twice the national average. And yet, CS courses don’t even count toward graduation in many U.S. states.
Code.org is trying to change this disconnect. Launched in 2013, this nonprofit’s vision is for every student in every school — especially underrepresented groups such as women and students of color — to have the opportunity to learn computer science. The organization’s Hour of Code program and videos featuring Ruchi Sanghvi, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Chris Bosh are quickly spreading the word that CS should be part of core curriculum, alongside courses like biology, chemistry or algebra.
And it’s working: 44 million students and 1 million teachers are coding with Code.org — and every day more are learning how.
Want your students to join the movement? Check out this list of free Code.org tools, resources and sources of inspiration to help you get started.
The four 20-hour online Computer Science Foundations courses as free, ready-made curriculum designed to give K-12 students a foundation in CS principles and programming, beginning with early readers and expanding through high school. The coursework encourages students to work in pairs, communicating and collaborating to solve puzzles and complete tasks. The curriculum integrates unplugged activities requiring no computers to develop computational thinking and hands-on, minds-on activities to learn vocabulary terms, such as “algorithm,” in context. You can even try out an accelerated teaser version to preview what your students would learn.
CS in Algebra and CS in Science courses
These online courses for middle-schoolers are formatted like video games and built on a block-based version of Bootstrap. CS in Algebra features 20 lessons with videos and other support materials that explore both algebraic concepts, such as defining variables, and geometric concepts, such as the coordinate plane. CS in Science, the result of a partnership between Code.org and Project GUTS (Growing Up Thinking Scientifically), aims to integrate CS practices into the science classroom through modeling and simulation. You can even get free professional development to teach this curriculum.
Exploring Computer Science course
High school educators should check out this course meant to broaden participation in computer science. The course's video and curriculum banks continue to grow, including a unit on artificial intelligence. Check out the PD opportunities for teaching this course and stay tuned for Code.org’s Computer Science Principles course.
Don’t feel comfortable diving into teaching CS without some training? K-5 educators and middle school teachers just starting out with CS can attend free, one-day professional development workshops led by one of Code.org’strained facilitators. These are high-quality, engaging workshops designed to help teachers bring computer science to their own classrooms. You’ll take home a printed curriculum guide, materials to teach the unplugged activities and fun Code.org swag! Find workshops in your area.
Be part of an inspiring professional learning community. Get ready to ask questions, share insights and be inspired to grow as a CS educator.
Register for one of Code.org's free monthly meetups for teachers. Check the schedule to find out when meetups for Exploring Computer Science, CS in Algebra, CS in Science and more happen.
Want to take the movement to policymakers? Learn about the state of computer science education in your area and sign the petition to advocate for the idea that every student in every school should have the opportunity to study computer science.
Share videos, tell the stories of Code.org’s inspirational students and inspirational teachers, and hang free posters featuring quotes from celebrities, such as Melissa Meyer and Ashton Kutcher. Even better, nominate a student or teacher yourself.
Janice Mak is an educator from Phoenix, Arizona. She serves on the K-12 executive council for NCWIT, CSTA AZ board, AZ State Board of Education and AZ K12 Center board. You can read more about her learning adventures on her blog here and follow her @jmakaz on Twitter.
This is an updated version of a post that first published on August 21, 2015.