Teachers, legislators and school administrators discuss greater implementation of computer science curriculum in schools

BISMARCK, ND (KFYR) – There aren’t a lot of jobs that don’t rely on computers.

Teaching how they work has become a priority for educators in North Dakota, and they joined tech experts on Tuesday to spread the word.

At the North Dakota Cognia School Improvement Conference, teachers learned why implementing the Informatics in Education curriculum is important for ND schools.

“When we talk about computer science as fundamental, our goal is not to create computer programmers or application developers, it is our goal to help our youngest learners understand how the Internet works and how it works. ‘computing,’ said Kirsten Baesler, superintendent of the state school.

Hadi Partovi, main presenter and CEO of Code.org, a nonprofit computer science organization, says more than 93% of families in North Dakota want computer science taught at all levels of school, but only 47% of public schools provide education in computer science.

“Teachers struggle every day in the classroom to try to explain to the student who asks: ‘why I am learning this’, ‘why am I memorizing this’, and it is more and more difficult to answer these questions. Whereas with computers, it is not difficult. Students never ask “why am I learning to build an app,” Partovi said.

Partovi says ND is uniquely positioned to add the topic to the agenda for several reasons, one being the state’s good broadband structure. But he says the main reason more and more schools aren’t teaching computer science is inertia.

“No one is saying that we shouldn’t be teaching our kids computer science. There’s no opposition saying it’s bad, but inertia means people want to do things the way we’ve always done them, and that’s so true in schools. That’s why schools are still teaching the curriculum from 200 years ago, ”Partovi said.

The state superintendent said more than 2,500 teachers have received computer science degrees in addition to their teaching license over the past two years and they hope this discussion will generate more interest.

The discussion brought together teachers, lawmakers, administrators and cyber experts.

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