The first week of December is nationally recognized in schools as “Computer Science Education Week” or “CSEd Week.” This is a week dedicated to providing students in all grade levels with opportunities to learn about computer science (CS). Many schools get started with free curriculum from organizations such as:
These sites offer entertaining and engaging ways to introduce algorithms, loops, conditionals, and other CS concepts to students. While the hands-on coding activities foster a fun introduction and spark interest, many educators are looking for more ways to embed the value of CS into the school’s physical environment and highlight how CS intersects with other content areas. Research about how the physical environment affects young women’s entry and persistence in computing indicates that “The décor of physical spaces conveys messages about the kinds of people who belong there and the kinds of activities that should be done there. Understanding this influence allows us to actively craft an environment that makes a broad range of people feel welcome in computing” (www.ncwit.org/physicalspaceuw). A free and easy way to get started is by printing and displaying CS posters throughout the school.
Here is a list of where to go for free downloadable posters: RobbotResources has free downloadable poster collections that cover a wide variety of topics in CS and cover the intersection of CS skills with specific content areas, such as art, music, humanities, PE, and others. These poster collections highlight that computing skills aren’t isolated to the CS class. Many schools print the collections to display the posters in corresponding content-area classrooms. The colorful graphics on the posters weave a common thread of a shared goal of providing pathways to careers and foster responsible digital citizenship skills. Visit the website to view the collections. You can see the recommended grade level for each collection and read reviews and suggestions from other educators who have downloaded the posters. Here are some sample collections that emphasize the variety offered by RobbotResources:
- Computational Thinking Posters: Classroom Ideas
- Computational Thinking Poster: Humanities
- The Impact of Digital Technology on Society
- Computer Science Poster: Writing Flowchart Algorithms
- Your Digital Footprint
CreateCodeLoad.com offers free classroom posters that combine a growth mindset with drag-and-drop coding. These posters appeal to elementary and middle school students and are ideal if your school uses Scratch. The set of nine posters are organized for social-emotional learning skills, such as perseverance, goalsetting, and more. The concepts bridge the gap between the computational thinking skills taught in the classroom and life skills. They highlight that teaching CS doesn’t detract from social-emotional learning but truly serves to enhance these skills. The posters can be printed on 8.5×11 or 11×17 size paper. To download the posters, go to the website, click the link to request posters, and enter your email address. Printable posters are immediately emailed to you! Highlighting the diversity of contributors to advances in CS is important as many students (and teachers) aren’t aware of these key figures and their contributions. Many traditional textbooks and curriculums haven’t featured these influential leaders, and culturally responsive educators are strategically embedding their contributions into lessons to paint the full picture of all of the people who have contributed to the advances in STEM that we all benefit from today.
- Nevertheless, a podcast that celebrates women transforming teaching and learning through tech offers STEM Role Models Posters. These eight posters are available for download in eight languages. While they can be displayed for all grade levels, they are most appealing to elementary and middle school students
- The March for Science posters feature key women in science. These six posters have a more mature feel (not cartoony), and would appeal to middle and high school level students.
- TECHNOLOchicas has two series of posters that highlight Latinas in Tech. In 2018, Latinas made up just 2% of the computing workforce (www.ncwit.org/bythenumbers). TECHNOLOchicas is “inspiring Latinas to create the future of technology.” Download their posters and print on 11” x 17” paper. Learn more about the women featured on the posters by visiting the TECHNOLOchicas YouTube Channel to see interviews with the women in both English and Spanish.
How does what a student is learning during CSEd Week translate to a career? The National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies has 15 free downloadable posters that spotlight the variety of cybersecurity careers, educational pathways, job descriptions, salary, and more. These posters would make an engaging display on a high school or middle school bulletin board. The graphics highlight inclusivity and representation in the field. These posters bridge the gap between the fun, gamified coding experiences to viable education and career pathways in CS.
Some exciting jobs profiled include:
- Cyber Crime Investigator
- Cyber Legal Advisor
- Multi-Disciplined Language Analyst
- Cryptographer/Cryptanalyst AKA Encryption Expert
Angela Cleveland, M.S.Ed., M.Ed., MA has 15 years of experience as a school counselor and is a Google Certified Educator. In 2017, she was recognized as New Jersey School Counselor of the Year. Angela co-authored Coding Capers: Luci and the Missing Robot and 50+ Tech Tools for School Counselors: How to Be More Engaging, Efficient, and Effective. Follow her on Twitter: @AngCleveland.