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unCon 2013 Session: Computer Science For All K-12 Students

Session led by Steve
Vinter and Heather Carey
In
a session led by Google’s Steve Vinter and Mass TLC’s own Heather Carey,
unConference attendees tackled the issue of bringing education in computer
science to all students, especially in Massachusetts. Only 559 of the
approximately 70,000 graduating high school seniors in all of Massachusetts
passed the Computer Science Advanced Placement Exam; despite having a
relatively strong public education system, Massachusetts clearly lags behind in
terms of computer and technology fluency. Session leader Heather Carey works
with the MassTLC Education Foundation working to improve this gap.
Only
two days ago, the MassTLC Education Foundation received a $350,000 grant from
Microsoft to support the expansion of the computer science education throughout
Massachusetts. The session allowed for discussion on the most effective ways of
achieving this goal with questions like:
·        
How
do we raise public awareness about the benefits of having computer science as a
key element of our education system?
·        
What
can we do to ensure that every students gets equal access to computer science,
regardless of socioeconomic standings?
·        
What
will engage students to pursue careers in computer science?
·        
How
do we implement these changes in a way that will be realistic for educators?
The
unConference brought together an incredible range of participants to the
session offering perspectives ranging from the Department of Education, the
tech industry, teachers, principals, and students. Each of these perspectives
made for not only engaging conversation but also the development of real
solutions to real problems.

-Jade Beguelin

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