Code.org grows CS Ed partnership to reduce the Babble in CS Ed
I wrote my May Blog@CACM post on the “Babble of Computing Education,” about the wide variety of perspectives, definitions, and cross-purposes going on in the US in computing education. At the end, I talk about the new Code.org partnership with the College Board and how this may reduce the Babble — the definition of CS Principles will become Code.org. Owen Astrachan, co-PI of the NSF CS Principles grant, and I have a bet for dinner and beer that we made on Facebook. I predict that in the first offering of the AP CS Principles exam, more than 50% of the schools that teach CSP and send students to the exam will be using Code.org curricula. He thinks that there will be greater diversity.
I don’t know how the new partnerships announced below fit into our bet. BJC, PLTW, and other curricula are now going to be promoted by Code.org as their partners. Will a school adopt BJC because Code.org recommends it? I think that’s likely. Will the school believe that they are adopting a curriculum out of Berkeley or a Code.org curriculum? I expect the latter. From schools’ perspective, all the eleven new partners will be Code.org curricula. The definition of CS Principles will become Code.org. That’s not necessarily a bad thing — that may provide a corporate face that will assure administrators in schools who don’t know CS.
“Code.org’s courses already reach millions of students globally in grades K-8,” Partovi said. “But as we expand in high school, we work region by region, and we can’t do it all. We’re leading a movement and we need partners to help.”
When Code.org meets with school districts, it will now also highlight the new partnerships as alternative ways to teach computer science versus utilizing Code.org’s own programs.