We might be biased, but to us, introducing kids to the wonders of Computer Science (CS) is increasingly important—especially for those who have historically been underrepresented in the field. CS is much more than computer programming and coding— it’s a gateway to creativity and innovation not just in technology but in fields as diverse as music, sports, the arts, and health.
But as Maggie Johnson notes in her recent post on The Computer Science Pipeline and Diversity, with only 16,000 CS undergraduates per year in the US, we’re a long way off from being able to fill the growing number of jobs in computing technology. To fix this gap, we need many more students engaging in the power of CS, especially girls and minorities. And, as our research has shown, encouragement and exposure have a direct impact on a child's interest in pursuing CS education, especially girls. But with many schools lacking CS courses, how can we help students access CS learning opportunities?
In the spirit of increasing awareness, access, and lifelong CS learning, we have a number of teams here at Google working to build CS education technology and programs for students, parents, and educators. Our collective efforts have led to many different initiatives, which is why we have launched a new gateway for all of our CS education opportunities. With this site, we hope to equip you with learning programs and opportunities, and arm you with our research about the various ways you can increase students’ exposure to CS education.
Once you’ve made your way to the learning opportunities page, filters allow you to easily sort for the most relevant information according to age or regions -- whether it’s coding projects, summer programs, or funding. You can explore the many “learn to code” resources, including CS First, Blockly Games, and Pencil Code, and annual student competitions and programs, including Code Jam, Computer Science Summer Institute, and Code-In, for students of all ages and backgrounds. For example, perhaps you’re looking for an easy-to-use intro to coding opportunity for music-loving 5th graders. You should check out Pencil Code, which is a coding laboratory using drawing, music, and creative fiction to help students progress from block coding to text. It’s learning opportunities like this that allow students to create and not just consume technology.