The Brain Gain discussion last Tuesday was great. Preparing for the talk helped me organize some new thinking around the role of computer science in junior/senior high school curricula that will inform the work I do in the autumn. Next year, grades 6, 7, and 8 will not have a separate CS course. Rather, I will be working with teachers of “core” subjects to integrate the material that was previously housed in my junior high CS classes. For example, can the semantic, organizational principles of XHTML find a place in a Language Arts class? Can we teach online identity and citizenship during our Advisory blocks?
Blurring the boundaries of the nebulous “Computer Science” curriculum is a way for junior high schools to address the online lives of their students. Primary goals of the new, distributed coursework will be similar to the previous years’ CS coursework, however, I think linking it explicity to students’ Math, Science, English and Social Studies classes will lead to more lasting, meaningful learning experiences.