Providing universal access to high-quality computer science programming
What is CSforPGH?
As a community rich in computer science learning resources, we have a responsibility to provide universally accessible high-quality computer science and computational thinking programming and resources to learners of all ages across the greater Pittsburgh region. Remake Learning seeks to build on the many computer science assets in the Pittsburgh region and convey equitable access to high-quality computer science education as an economic development imperative.
The CSforPGH working group is gathering information on the user landscape for computer science and computational thinking in order to design tools and resources that are user-centered and address practical needs in the greater Pittsburgh region. This initiative would focus on dramatically increasing access and participation for students of color, students in remote rural areas, and girls in computer science programs, both in- and out-of-school, across the Pittsburgh region. In the first year, it would do so in four ways:
- Building a solid, branded “umbrella” called CSforPgh and crafting a regional vision for computer science that partners can identify with
- Creating easy on-ramps for schools not already steeped in computer science to implement programming, supported by the partners, programs, information, and other resources to aid with implementation and scale-up (co-designed with organizations that currently serve students of color and girls in STEM).
- Creating a scaffold of free-to-low-cost CS resources that transition students at any age from basic to advanced coding and computer science skills.
- Strengthening relationships with organizations serving girls in STEM and students of color and providing the human capital support to help implement the above on-ramps and scaffolds.
Why Computer Science?
Computer science has become a vital part of preparing learners to thrive in the 21st century. The New York Times reports that there will likely be 150,000 computing jobs opening up each year through 2020, according to the Association for Computing Machinery, a professional society for computing researchers. However, fewer than 30,000 American students received degrees in computer science in 2015.
While this represents a huge opportunity to prepare today’s learners for the demands of tomorrow’s workforce, many students lack meaningful exposure to high-quality CS learning experiences. Nine out of ten schools don’t offer CS coursework and the US Department of Education reported that “girls represented only 22 percent and underrepresented minorities only 13 percent of the approximately 50,000 students who took the Advanced Placement Computer Science (AP-CS) exam nationally.”
In the Pittsburgh region specifically, not only do we know that STEM (particularly computer science) jobs are available and growing, we also know that a diverse pipeline of talent is not available. According to a 2016 Allegheny Conference study, in reference to the Pittsburgh region:
“The current workforce and future pipeline lack diversity: Diversity is a large local challenge; only 1% of the local IT workforce is African American compared to 7% nationally. At the college level, African American students are 50% less likely to be enrolled in Computer Science and other STEM majors than all other students. At the high school level, only 37 African American students in the entire state took the AP Computer Science exam.”
As a community rich in computer science learning resources, we have a responsibility to provide universally accessible high-quality computer science and computational thinking programming and resources to learners of all ages across the greater Pittsburgh region.
The CSforPGH Index is a collection of tools and resources informed by actual users here in the greater Pittsburgh region. Each item in the index is described in technical and educational detail, along with insights on how these tools work in practice and how they can be used to promote engagement through hands-on activities, real-world learning immersions, and culturally relevant and sustaining instruction.
Curated by members of the CSforPGH Working Group, this Index is designed to help educators and administrators find hardware and software that meets the needs of their students, supports progress towards academic standards, and fits their budgets.
- CSForAll Consortium
The CSforALL Consortium is the national hub for the Computer Science for ALL movement that works to enable all students to achieve CS literacy as an integral part of their educational experience both in and out of school.
- Exploring Computer Science
A national initiative to advance CS teaching through resources and professional development opportunities, in partnership with the National Science Foundation.
- Project Lead the Way
A collection of resources and course curriculum for CS education in grades 9-12.
Lessons, learning activities, assessment tools, and professional development opportunities for enhancing high school CS courses, developed by a team at Northwestern University.
- K-12 Computer Science Framework
Conceptual guidelines for CS education in K-12 to help stats, districts, and organizations develop standards, curriculum, and build capacity for teaching CS.
- CSForAll Consortium
Alice is an innovative block-based programming environment that makes it easy to create animations, build interactive narratives, or program simple games in 3D. Alice is designed to teach logical and computational thinking skills, fundamental principles of programming and to be a first exposure to object-oriented programming.
Learning platform offering lessons, teaching guides, and a gallery of student-made projects, organizers of the annual Hour of Code campaign.
- Computer Science Teachers AmeriCorps
A program to recruit and train at least 10,000 teachers with skills in CS fundamentals.
A digital playground where educators can come together to learn, share, and be transformed. Combining a dynamic physical space with access to new technology, transformED stimulates new thinking around the intersection of instruction and technology.
A digital learning company creating game design curriculum combining technical and creative competencies.
- iD Tech Camps
A technology summer camp hosted at Carnegie Mellon University.
- National High School Game Academy
A summer program for high school students to experience the modern video game development process and, in so doing, learn skills used in those processes.
- Hi-Tech Learning
Hi-Tech Learning offers technology focused programs in the Pittsburgh area for ages 7-14 using the programs kids love, such as Minecraft.
- The Maker’s Place
The Maker’s Place is an entrepreneurship, science, technology, engineering, art and math (ESTEAM) focused out-of-school time program for late elementary, middle and high school students.
- ECE Outreach
From the Electrical and Computer Engineering department of Carnegie Mellon University that aims to provide high school and middle school students with opportunities to learn about and explore engineering through short lectures and hands-on labs.
- Geldfand Outreach
K-12 students are invited to participate in Gelfand Outreach workshops which are held on several Saturdays during the academic year and week-long session during the summer. Programs are developed by Carnegie Mellon University faculty, students and staff; all are designed to be rigorous, educational, STEM focused, hands-on and fun!
After-school programs where local university students from Carnegie Mellon teach and mentor local 7th and 8th grade students.
- iD Tech Camps