Powered by the White House and driven by some of the most innovative minds in technology, Computer Science for All (CSforAll) is an initiative designed to “empower all students from kindergarten through high school to learn computer science.” Along with that lofty objective, CSforAll also aspires to equip those students with “the computational thinking skills they need to be creators in the digital economy, not just consumers,” and “to be active citizens in our technology-driven world.” That’s a mouthful of goals, and meaningful ones at that, given the technological world we live in, not to mention America’s lagging educational efforts related to computer science (CS). As a charter member of the Computer Science for All Consortium, Digital Dream Labs is proud to support those noble aspirations and to add our commitment to the CSforAll endeavor.
CSforAll’s official launch took place recently with a debut broadcast from the White House press room, where numerous speakers took to the podium to talk about various CS related initiatives. More than one speaker emphasized the equity of the project–in other words, the CSforAll group seeks to share the knowledge as broadly as possible–that’s the for All part. As one aspect of the initiative, President Obama has proposed $4 billion in additional funding to the states, with $100 million going directly to school districts for upgrades pertaining to CS across the board.
The CSforAll website will be used as a clearinghouse for those interested parties seeking CS related resources, ranging from collaborators to curriculum. The site will also help to link the national CS community, offer opportunities for sharing information, and help to facilitate building a solid nationwide coalition, in hopes of ultimately developing CSforAll into a movement.
The CSforAll Consortium is an organization whose mission fits well with Digital Dream Labs’ goal of providing high quality opportunities for learning computational thinking to children. In the case of DDL, we have, as part of our core beliefs, an added emphasis on kids having fun, without which gameplay quickly becomes drudgery. We believe a fun learning experience is one kids will repeatedly come back to in order to enjoy even more fun (& thus even more learning).
Computer Science Expanding in USA
To close, here’s something to think about pertaining to CS education: In China, children begin learning computational thinking as early as kindergarten. In contrast, the US has been going in reverse for decades with regard to computer science education across our K-12 system. In the not-so-long run those two trends, if allowed to continue unabated, don’t bode especially well for the United States. We at DDL see this landscape clearly and seek to be a part of the wider solution: An expansion of CS in schools across America–and not just across the country, but across the grade levels, too, from early childhood all the way through postsecondary education. CSforAll indeed!