Bringing Computer Science to Your Classroom
By Chris Yust, from Homeschool Programming, Inc.
You probably already have the basic subjects covered in your classroom. Reading, writing, math, history, arts, science, geography, social studies…all of these things have an endless variety of resources available to you! None of them are likely that intimidating to teach either; after all, those topics were part of your own fundamental education. But how are you going to handle Computer Science? Today this critical subject is more important than ever, yet many teachers and homeschool parents are not sure how to get started!
Imagine providing a subject in your classroom that your students can’t wait to study. Tell your kids they can learn how to create their own computer games, apps, and websites, and watch their eyes light up. You will not have to twist any arms to get those homework assignments finished. Instead of sitting around playing video games, your students could be learning the skills necessary to write their own!
Growing Up in the Digital Age
Kids in school today have never known life without the Internet, laptops, cell phones, and a dizzying array of computer games. Your students may be more techno-savvy than you are! Using email, word processing programs, web browsers, and social networking tools are probably second nature to your plugged-in children. But how much do they really understand about what is going on underneath the covers?
Who is writing all the software that your kids are using? Computer scientists or programmers are the ones driving these innovations! Computer programmers understand the tools, languages, and techniques needed to create new software. While this may sound like an arcane, difficult subject, in reality computer programming is very accessible to every student. Modern, easy-to-use programming languages and robust, free development environments can be used by anyone with the proper training.
Find a Lifelong, Rewarding Passion
You might think that all computer jobs have been outsourced overseas. That’s simply not true! Research from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics shows there is a real shortage of trained software engineers to fill the computing needs of local technology companies. Throughout the recent economic downturn, computer jobs have seen steady growth and salary increases.
Some of the more widely used computer languages in academic and professional settings today include Java, C#, HTML, Visual Basic, and C++. Skills your students build in these languages will not be thrown away as they move to the next level in school or business. A solid foundation in these languages can support a nearly limitless variety of applications from personal computers to robotics to mobile phones.
Your Most Popular Subject
Odds are that your own computer science experience is somewhat limited. You might never dream of trying to teach a programming language to your students based on an old FORTRAN course you suffered through 30 years ago. Fortunately, today, self-study courses from Homeschool Programming can guide your students step-by-step through the programming process with minimal teacher involvement. You don’t need a fancy computer lab. If your students are already comfortable using a computer then they are ready to learn how to write their first program.
The KidCoder and TeenCoder courses for 4th-12th grade students cover a variety of topics such as:
KidCoder: Windows/Game Series – Learn Visual Basic to write your own programs and video games
TeenCoder: Windows/Game Series – Use object-oriented concepts to write programs and games in C#
TeenCoder: Java/Android – Learn Java and Eclipse, study for the AP CS A exam, and write Android apps
You can provide a quality Computer Science education for your homeschool student even if you’re not an expert yourself. Let’s spark a passion for Computer Science in your student today!
About the Author
Chris Yust has 17 years of experience as a software engineer and is co-author of the KidCoder and TeenCoder computer programming courses for 4th-12th grade students. Find out more about computer programming and website design for kids and teens at www.HomeschoolProgramming.com!