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Museum Helps with New Massachusetts Computer Science Standards

July 15, 2016

In June the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education unanimously adopted the new Digital Literacy and Computer Science (CS) Standards. Museum of Science, Boston staff joined other educators and experts in developing recommendations for the standards as well as helping to write and revise them after public review. The standards provide clear guidelines to support students in developing essential technological and problem-solving skills and are an important step towards integrating computer science into all Massachusetts schools. The voluntary standards are unique in integrating goals for computational thinking and computer use.

Through diverse programs, activities, exhibits, and advocacy, the Museum has long been committed to computer science education. Its work in informal learning includes the growth of The Clubhouse Network, the award-winning traveling exhibition The Science Behind Pixar, which engages visitors in computational thinking, Design Challenges and Computer Science Education Week activities on computational thinking and computer science, and other exhibits and programs being planned. The Museum also will use the Massachusetts standards to help guide the development of new project-based curricula for Pre-K through grade 5 through its Computer Science Education Initiative.

The importance of computer science (CS) skills is widely-recognized: This year, the White House established the ambitious "Computer Science for All" initiative to "empower a generation" with the skills they need in a digital economy, and requested $100 million for an FY17 CS education state grant program. Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has also pledged her support for this initiative. While many members of the House Education appropriations committee acknowledged the importance of CS education, the resulting bill did not provide for CS grants. A compromise must be struck with the Senate before final spending bills are set.

Educators, engineers, and others interested in more information and/or participating in focus groups about the Museum's curriculum work in fall 2016, contact Clara Cahill (ccahill@mos.org).

The Museum of Science, Boston

  1 Science Park, Boston, MA 02114  phone: 617-723-2500   information@mos.org