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The Issue

In recent years, students' interest in computer science has declined. This decline is in addition to a long-standing lack of interest in computer science on the part of women and minorities. This is a troubling trend, not only because it deprives these students of the enormous possibilities opened up by a familiarity with computer science concepts, but also because today's economy is fueled largely by companies that rely heavily upon computer science and are desperate for qualified talent to keep them moving forward.

The Solution

The good news is that much of students' lack of interest is due to easily-corrected misconceptions about what computer science really is and what kinds of employment opportunities it can provide. The CS4HS workshop aims to give teachers the materials to dispel these misconceptions and build enthusiasm for computer science among their students. At the same time, incorporation of real-world computer science elements into other science curricula demonstrates to students the relevance of both subjects to each other and to today's employment opportunities.

Everyone needs Computer Science!

No modern scientist or engineer can escape computer science--and why would they want to? Just a smattering of people who use computer science are:

  • Chemists: to predict protein behaviors for drug development.
  • Biologists: to genetically classify species all the way back to the dinosaurs.
  • Economists: to predict the effects of pricing, market trades, and interest rates.
  • Astronomers: to build models of our galaxy and beyond.
  • Geologists: to predict earthquakes and model the earth's structure millions of years ago.

The CS4HS workshop will introduce you to numerous examples of computer science working hand-in-hand with your subject--whatever that subject may be! We will provide you with applied examples that are exciting and motivating for your students. We will also supply you with concrete exercises that give your students a chance to try learning/using key computer science ideas within the context of the basic sciences.

Computer Science needs Everyone!

As computational thinking becomes a central part of an increasingly diverse set of jobs, it is crucial that a broad and diverse population be able to perform these jobs. At the heart of technological innovation is the idea that people with different backgrounds and ideas will approach technological problems--and their solutions--differently. More available voices means more innovation. Neither the economy nor society benefits when large swaths of the population elect out of the computer science brain pool.

The CS4HS workshop will give you the tools to demonstrate the relevance of computational thinking to the lives of your students. We will provide teachers with experiences demonstrating that technology (and many other) companies want not only a computationally-literate workforce, but they want to draw it from the most diverse set of possible backgrounds. We hope that this will allow teachers to effectively demonstrate the importance of computational thinking to any and all of their individual students.