Computer Science Clubs
Computer Science Clubs
Computer science (CS) clubs can bolster a district’s learning experience and provide opportunities to students beyond the classroom. A CS club can expose students to career fields, provide hands-on experience, engage community stakeholders and cultivate interest. Even a one-time event for computer science can enrich students and families’ learning experiences.
Within this chapter are considerations and supporting documents for developing logistics of your club, determining educator training, finding resources or funding, generating interest and sustaining your newly developed program.
- Define a purpose for a computer science club or one-time event
- Examine important elements for implementing a computer science club or one-time event
- Explore examples of computer science clubs or one-time events
Investigate available resources for computer science clubs or one-time event
Why Should Districts Have Computer Science Clubs?
Students gain awareness of computer science, as well as the career pathways that can be taken with the skills acquired in the club.
Although computer science is not a new field of study, many students are unaware of the many concepts that envelop computer science concepts. Students are also not exposed to the concepts involved till the latter primary grades. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics projects a 12% increase in computer science and information technology occupations by 2028.
Computer science clubs cultivate interest in computer science and STEM-related fields.
By nature, clubs are usually a lower-cost alternative to exploring curricular concepts with a diverse population of students. Clubs not only allow students to explore concepts of interest, but they also in turn help stakeholders (administration, teachers and parents) to become curious about the possibilities of the curricular aspects of CS.
Stakeholders can experience, engage with CS content in practice.
Although the state of Michigan has clear computer science standards, many administrators, teachers and parents are uncertain about the concepts and application of computer science. Implementing clubs that explore computer science concepts within K-12 education allows stakeholders to understand computer science in practice.
Opportunity to expose CS and STEM-related fields to all demographics.
A clear and conscientious implementation of CS clubs would encompass recruitment of students who represent your school’s demographic and designing learning spaces that are accessible to students with diverse abilities – in other words, to recognize the needs of access, learning space, diversity and how instruction is implemented in order for CS and STEM-related concepts to impact all students. See the Inclusive Classroom Guide Appendix E: Diversity and Inclusion Planning Guide for further support.
Districts should examine a few considerations when implementing a computer science club or one-time event:
- Resources/Funding: Take a look at your budget and funding for the club or one-time event. Consider community partnerships and/or grant funding. This will determine the resources that will be available for your club or one-time event.
- Logistics: It is important to consider things like how many times the club will meet, where the meetings will take place, and who will be participating in the club. It will also address logistics for one-time events.
- Educator Training: To run a successful club, allow your club mentors to be properly trained. This can be accomplished by attending webinars, training sessions, or conferences.
- Generating Interest: You can’t have a CS club without the kids! Get your school community excited for this awesome opportunity. Decide on a marketing and recruitment plan. Consider how to register students and communicate with them. Additionally, find out how to generate interest for a one-time event.
- Sustainability: Clubs will maintain and grow membership by sharing the wonderful things going on in your club. This can be accomplished with frequent communication to the families and school community, as well as sharing achievements and experiences on social media. It is important also to reflect and adjust as needed to continue the positive impact on students. If the club begins through grant funding, decide how the club will be maintained once grant funding is eliminated.
Examples of CS Visions
These resources provide guides, strategies, tips and opportunities for starting and running a computer science club or one-time event.
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