Big Moves in Computer Science Education

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More than 90% of parents want their child’s school to teach computer science, but only 35% of high schools, nationally, teach it. In North Dakota, that number drops to only 22% of our high schools teaching computer science. The beautiful, yet often misunderstood thing about computer science, is that it teaches students logic, problem-solving, and creativity – all skills that schools are trying to grow within their students. Considering the lack of student access along with the obvious benefits, concerted efforts have been made over the past couple of years to address the lack of computer science as a part of our North Dakota students’ educational experience.

In March of this year, a group of 18 North Dakota educators completed North Dakota’s first-ever K-12 Computer Science and Cybersecurity Standards. These standards are designed to provide all students with a quality, equal-opportunity education in computer science and cybersecurity that becomes a fundamental and foundational component of their education. As NDDPI launches its new website this month, access to these standards can be found online.

During this past Legislative Session, one of the few bills to receive unanimous support in both the House and Senate was Senate Bill 2171, which provided the state superintendent with the authority to issue credentials for teachers of computer and cyber science. Developing credential criteria requires going through the administrative rules process. Please look for the credential requirements to be determined in spring 2020.

Finally, many efforts are being made to provide teachers with the necessary training to learn about computer science - including coding, digital literacy, cybersecurity, and more. EduTech has developed multiple partnerships to provide trainings to K-12 ND teachers. NDDPI has developed a variety of partners to also help with these endeavors – including a new training opportunity to come during the summer of 2020. Be on the lookout for more information on this workshop-style conference which will include trainings on how to integrate computer science in your current classes.

For any questions or information regarding K-12 computer science, please contact Matt Scherbenske at (701) 328-2629.

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