July 26, 2017

Watchworthy Wednesday: Underrepresented Represented in Code.org Courses

Categories: Connected Learning, Equity
girls working on computers

At its core, connected learning is about educational equity, and Code.org, which runs Hour of Code, is a shining example. The nonprofit organization recently announced the results of a new survey of the young people it serves. And, the news is good: underrepresented minorities make up 48 percent of Code.org’s students in their courses and girls make up 45 percent.

Code.org, designs its courses with equity in mind. This month, it released a new free computer science course for 7th- through 9th-graders. Called “CS Discoveries,” the year-long course compliments Code.org’s existing courses, “CS Fundamental” (for primary grades) and “CS Principles” (for high school). According to the website, “CS Discoveries is an introductory computer science course that empowers students to create authentic artifacts and engage with computer science as a medium for creativity, communication, problem solving, and fun. CS Discoveries is designed from the ground up to be an accessible and engaging course for all students, regardless of background or prior experience. It provides students opportunities to engage with culturally and personally relevant topics in a wide variety of contexts and aims to show all students that CS is for them.”

From Code.org’s post on Medium:

Teachers are invaluable in bringing diverse students into computer science. Without a teacher’s encouragement, students are less likely to pick up computer science on their own, especially students who have been historically underrepresented or marginalized in computer science classrooms  —  like female, Black, and Latinx students. In Code.org professional development workshops, we help teachers, counselors, and district administrators build awareness of their own stereotypes and help them recruit diverse students to computer sciences. Professional development offerings also focus on schools with underserved populations to reach the students who don’t typically participate in computer science.

We still have plenty of work to do before every student in every school has the chance to learn the foundations of computer science. But we’re so proud of every student who has tried computer science for the first time and for every teacher who encouraged students who initially didn’t think CS was for them. Keep up the great work.

For more information about Code.org’s courses and commitment to equity, visit the website.