Programming enthusiasts are watching the Iowa legislature, hoping they boot up a Computer Science bill (SF274) this session, but it will come down to a binary up or down before long.
The bill inspired by the STEM Council’s Computer Science working group recommendations calls for developing high-quality K-12 computer science standards, providing a teaching endorsement in computer science and incentivizing voluntary professional development and implementation for schools that offer computer science classes. If successful, Iowa will join 30 other states in the U.S. that have adopted statewide CS standards or passed policies to make computer science count for high school graduation credit
And, getting access to computer science offerings just got easier thanks to a recently compiled Computer Science Matrix of some of the best computer science available, developed by the STEM operations team. Although not an exhaustive list, the matrix serves as a starting point for educators teaching varying grade levels to find computer science programs or activities for their students.
The inspiration for Iowa’s Computer Science Matrix is Rhode Island’s CS4RI with the idea of gathering a list of high-quality computer science programs known to exist in Iowa and presenting the tool to Iowa educators desiring pathways to these programs.
Presently, the STEM Council also provides ways for youth to engage in computer science through Code Iowa, Microsoft Imagine Academy, as well as with STEM Scale-Up Programs, such as HyperStream and Project Lead The Way’s Introduction to Computer Science in schools now.
For today’s young Iowans, the wait for computer science can seem like an infinite loop, but nodes and networks for accessing computer science are creating a dense topology across the state. Inevitably, Iowa students will have more and more opportunities to consume AND create technology, helping bring awareness and introduce the skills needed for some of the most critical STEM jobs for Iowa’s future. Citizens may monitor the progress of SF274 here: https://legiscan.com/IA/bill/SF274/2017.