Over the last several years, Exploring Computer Science (ECS) has grown from its local roots in Los Angeles to a national program.
What began as a city-wide program to make computer science accessible and socially relevant for diverse youth in the greater Los Angeles district has become a nation-wide curriculum in select high-schools across the nation. Exploring Computer Science is a yearlong course consisting of six units, approximately six weeks each. The course is developed around a framework of both computer science content and computational practice. Ethical and social issues in computing, and careers in computing, are woven throughout the six units.
- Human Computer Interaction In this unit students are introduced to the concepts of computer and computing while investigating the major components of computers and the suitability of these components for particular applications. Students will experiment with internet search techniques, explore a variety of websites and web applications and discuss issues of privacy and security.
- Problem Solving This unit provides students with opportunities to become “computational thinkers” by applying a variety of problem-solving techniques as they create solutions to problems that are situated in a variety of contexts.
- Web Design This section prepares students to take the role of a developer by expanding their knowledge of algorithms, abstraction, and web page design and applying it to the creation of web pages and documentation for users and equipment. Students will explore issues of social responsibility in web use.
- Programming Students are introduced to some basic issues associated with program design and development. Students design algorithms and create programming solutions to a variety of computational problems, including mathematical and logical concepts and a variety of programming constructs.
- Computer and Data Analysis In this unit students explore how computing has facilitated new methods of managing and interpreting data. Students will use computers to translate, process and visualize data in order to find patterns and test hypotheses.
- Robotics This unit introduces robotics as an advanced application of computer science that can be used to solve problems in a variety of settings from business to healthcare.. Students explore how to integrate hardware and software in order to solve problems.
The MECSP professional development program is based on three major pillars: computer science content/concepts, inquiry, and equity. These pillars are woven throughout all support provided to our teacher community.
Our professional development model consists of four features:
- Philosophy Beginning ECS Teachers participate in a week-long summer Institute prior to implementation to introduce the instructional philosophy of the curriculum and content from the early units.
- Workshops Quarterly Saturday workshops during academic year to focus on the remaining units and the three pillars.
- Coaching ECS Coaches visit teachers’ classrooms and provide individualized support.
- Support Deepening of content and pedagogy in year 2 and beyond.