Call to action
The Microsoft Computer Science Curriculum Toolkit benefits school systems in numerous ways. First, the framework reflects rapid technological changes. The framework includes current computer science topics and cutting edge and emerging trends in the computer science field. Additionally, the Toolkit incorporates an inquiry-led, problem-solving approach to teaching. This approach inspires young people to apply learning to develop solutions that might affect the world around them. Moreover, the curriculum incorporates new learner-centered approaches rooted in constructivism and social constructivism. These approaches are more appealing to diverse groups of learners. The framework also integrates the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) as themes for the big questions across all domains in Phases 3 and 4. Solving the SDGs engage learners in the topics and inspires them to solve real-world problems, rather than complete abstract tasks.
Furthermore, the toolkit takes advantage of several approaches supported by research. The use of different approaches ensures the teaching of computer science is more equitable to learners of all backgrounds and abilities.
- Equity is clearly woven into the learning goals, concepts, and challenges in the framework. Learners study the impacts of computer science on issues of accessibility. In addition, they study the positive and negative impacts of artificial intelligence on society.
- The outputs associated with the CS tasks provide opportunities for non-native language speakers to demonstrate competency without having to produce as much written work as they might in other subject areas.
- The project-based and inquiry-based approaches use real-world, socially relevant problems to engage women and underrepresented groups in computer science.
- Because not all schools have adequate equipment to provide an "ideal" computer science education, the framework includes suggestions for unplugged learning activities that don’t require physical hardware. Unplugged learning activities are especially relevant for primary schools.
- The framework provides a variety of approaches to teaching each topic. A variety of learning goals, concepts, and challenges are offered to meet the varied needs of learners of all ages.
Finally, the Microsoft Computer Science Curriculum Toolkit provides flexibility to encourage local adaptation. Rather than a one-size-fits-all curriculum, the toolkit:
- Offers guidance on covering topics in an innovative and enduring CS curriculum and the sequence in which to cover them.
- Suggests projects and lab work that allow learners to apply learning to demonstrate mastery of the necessary CS outcomes.
- Provides links to Microsoft and other high-quality training, programs, and learning resources that CS educators and learners use.
- Leaves plenty of room for the addition of local content and resources.
The work completed today positions educators to integrate computer science into their curriculum. Examine the lesson guides for appropriate age levels and determine how to incorporate them into the curriculum. Ask for feedback on the alignment plan. If completed independently or with a partner, ask a colleague to serve as a feedback partner to review the unit plan using the suggested “critical friends' protocol.”
- What realizations have you had today about teaching computer science?
- Do you have a deeper appreciation for why computer science applies to you and your learners?
- How will the Microsoft Computer Science Curriculum Toolkit help you?