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Computer Science education in the 21st Century

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Computer science as a subject has found a regular slot in school timetables over the last two decades. However, compared to the traditional subjects computer technology education is still at a nascent stage. Though the market is flooded with publications dealing with computer technology and allied fields, it is an onerous task to identify ones with quality content.

Most of the millennial students are digital natives, for they are familiar with technology such as computers and the internet from an early age. For such students, the curriculum for computer education needs to go beyond transient, application- specific skills in order to equip them with the fluency to leapfrog from being mere users of technology to become creators of technology. In light of this, we highlight the 21st-century pedagogy for computer science which can address these issues.

The major focus of the presentation is on computational thinking, its components and its application by way of hands-on activities. A discussion on how psychosocial factors such as attitudes affect computational thinking will also be held.

The presentation also attempts to throw light on the importance of gender equality in promoting fair and active participation in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). School leaders will then discuss how socialisation and stereotypes affect our perspectives and decisions. This will be followed by a listing of practical strategies to ensure that female student are equal learners in the technology education process.

The concluding session of the presentation will deal with the parameters to be considered while evaluating and selecting computer science textbooks for elementary and middle school students. Besides adherence to the syllabus and requirements of various education boards, factors pertaining to cognitive (for example engaging students with a ‘learning to learn’ mindset, reinforcing logical reasoning, multiple representations, etc); pedagogical ( for example, promoting higher order thinking skills and coding in an intuitive environment), social ( for example, sensitisation regarding gender, body image, sociocultural stereotypes), and fair practices (for example, measures to prevent cyber bullying, computer-induced injury, etc) will be  deliberated upon.

Author: Dr. Farida Khan

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