Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek) Starts on Monday, December 7
The first CSEdWeek was held in 2009 as a way to bring national attention to the need to make quality Computer Science (CS) education available and accessible to all students, everywhere. The coalition of organizations that came together to found CSEdWeek (including NCWIT) recognized that since computing permeates every aspect of our society, it is essential that people from diverse backgrounds, demographics, and perspectives be involved in the creation of technologies that change how we think, connect, conduct research, build products, and more.
This year, the stakes may be higher than ever. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold, many students are experiencing reduced access to tech resources. Meanwhile, heightened calls for racial justice are shining a light on systemic barriers to full participation in computing for people of color.
With all this in mind, it’s fitting that the theme for CSEdWeek 2020 is #CSforSocialJustice. As the organizers of CSEdWeek explain, today, “the concept of social justice often refers to human rights, centered around improving the lives of groups historically marginalized based on race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion and disability. As part of the #CSforGood movement, we decided to shine a light on how CS can serve as a catalyst for social justice.”
While this theme alerts us to the distance we still have to go in order to reach our goal of true equity in computing education, it also invites us to imagine the ways CS itself can be a force for positive change. It elevates the work of scholars and thought leaders in the field of social justice and computing, such as Dr. Ruha Benjamin, Dr. Nicki Washington, and Joy Buolamwini. It highlights current research that has the potential to inspire students while encouraging policy makers, educators, and tech industry executives to become more aware of their own biases, work to create more inclusive environments, and design technologies that serve diverse populations and challenge systemic inequities. And, it reminds us that today’s computing students are already dreaming up innovations and solutions that will change the world of tomorrow.
Below, you’ll find a variety of ways that you can get involved in the #CSforSocialJustice movement. Participate in CSEdWeek events with NCWIT, discover free resources to support your inclusion efforts, and explore activities offered by NCWIT member organizations. There’s something for everyone!
Opportunities Through NCWIT Programs
By donating just a few hours of your time, you can encourage and support high school students who are pursuing their tech passions. As a volunteer reviewer for the NCWIT Award for Aspiration in Computing, you’ll get inspired as you learn about the ways young people are using technology to solve problems in their communities. (This opportunity also represents a meaningful and convenient way to contribute toward your corporate volunteer hours.) Go here to sign up.
Get the information you need to introduce students to career possibilities in the rapidly growing field of cybersecurity. NCWIT Counselors for Computing (C4C) is teaming up with CYBER.ORG to present this high-energy webinar, featuring teachers, counselors, and students of all ages who will talk about their experiences in cybersecurity. Go here to register.
Tune in to the Voices of Innovative Compassionate Experts in Society (VOICES) Podcast, brought to you by the Constellations Center for Equity in Computing at NCWIT Academic Alliance Member Georgia Tech. This podcast focuses on computer science education as a key part of broader efforts to address socioeconomic inequity. Coming soon, hear a conversation with NCWIT K-12 Alliance and TECHNOLOchicas Director Jannie Fernandez (scheduled release date: December 6). Go here to listen.
Want to learn about the factors that most influence women students’ persistence in computing education? Check out this overview of a multi-year NCWIT research study that followed participants from high school to college in order to better understand the experiences of young women in computing.
Wondering what you can do to help students stay engaged in computing classes, even in the face of challenges? Simply offering consistent and specific words of encouragement can help more than you may realize. Read this NCWIT resource to find out how you can bridge the “encouragement gap.”
Interested in celebrating CSEdWeek at your school, but not sure how to get started? This resource from NCWIT Counselors for Computing (C4C) is full of simple, ready-to-use activities and ideas to get students of all ages interested in computing programs.
From Our Members
Send a virtual thank-you card to a computer science teacher (or any educator) using this form from NCWIT K-12 Alliance Member CSTA.
Try out quick-start coding activities for kids 10 and up in a free training session with NCWIT Academic Alliance Member Apple.
Follow @NCWIT and @NCWITAiC on Twitter for more updates about activities hosted by NCWIT members. For each day of CSEdWeek, NCWIT will also share a resource with ideas that educators, parents, and others can use to make computing education more accessible for all!