Computing Community Consortium Blog

The goal of the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) is to catalyze the computing research community to debate longer range, more audacious research challenges; to build consensus around research visions; to evolve the most promising visions toward clearly defined initiatives; and to work with the funding organizations to move challenges and visions toward funding initiatives. The purpose of this blog is to provide a more immediate, online mechanism for dissemination of visioning concepts and community discussion/debate about them.

Back to School – Exploring Computer Science: from the classrooms of L.A. schools to a nationwide effort

September 2nd, 2014 / in NSF, Research News, resources / by Ann Drobnis

The following is a guest blog post from Gera Jochum, Communications Specialist for the Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) Directorate at the National Science Foundation (NSF).

A new video produced by the National Science Foundation showcases an innovative computer science curriculum that’s been a huge success in Los Angeles public schools and is now spreading across the nation.

The video highlights the work of Jane Margolis, an educator and researcher at UCLA, who has dedicated her career to democratizing computer science education and addressing under-representation in the field. Her work inspires students from diverse backgrounds to study computer science and use their knowledge to help society.

With support from the National Science Foundation, Margolis and her team investigated why so few girls and under-represented minorities are learning computer science. After studying the problem, they launched a new computer science curriculum in 2009 called “Exploring Computer Science” or ECS, to reverse the trend.

Today, more than 2,000 students in the Los Angeles United School District (LAUSD) are learning computer science through ECS each year. Most of the students are African American and Latino. ECS is also increasing the percentage of female students taking computer science courses. At a time when the national average of female students who are participating in Advanced Placement computer science is about 19 percent, the LAUSD ECS enrollment is 40 percent female – twice the national average!

Thanks to Margolis’s research, ECS is now being taught in schools across the U.S. and is introducing ever more students to the creative possibilities of computer science.  For more information on Margolis’ project, please read the Press Release here.

What will you do this school year to inspire students to engage in the multi-faceted world of computer science to become not just users, but also creators, of technology?

Want some ideas for class activities and discussions? Check out CS Bits & Bytes – each issue highlights innovative computer science research and includes profiles of the individuals who do this exciting work, links for further exploration, and interactive activities.



Back to School – Exploring Computer Science: from the classrooms of L.A. schools to a nationwide effort