AlignCS is a sensemaking tool for community members to search for and identify curricula and programs that fit their needs without needing to first become an expert in CS to find them. In our initial rollout of this tool, site visitors will be able to search for Curricula and Programs using the K-12 CS Framework to filter through them. We intend to launch in early Q1 2020.
What Exactly is it?
AlignCS will be an expansion to our website functionality to allow community members to search for curricula under the K12 CS Framework. This means curricula will be searchable by grade band, concept and sub-concept to identify curricula and programs that fit their needs. With simply knowing broadly what they are looking for: Say grade 5, algorithms and programming, or grade 9, data and analysis, relevant options will appear.
AlignCS will allow content providers to list their curricula on our site, and to categorize it under the K-12 Framework. It is this Framework-level alignment that will allow us to make the curricula searchable by the concepts they cover. The AlignCS tool includes an independent verification by teachers to the K-12 CS Framework to ensure the quality of the search tool. To be clear, providers will be able to publish their curricula and programs on our Curriculum Directory before aligning them. They will simply not appear as aligning to the framework or in search results using framework filters.
CSforALL doesn’t expect one curricula or program from a single provider to meet all the content in the K-12 CS Framework. Rather, we want to provide educators a way to make sense of the different strengths of different options to combine them in a way that best suits their needs.
Do you teach CS?
We are looking for experienced teachers to review submitted curricula!
We will compensate reviewing teachers per curriculum reviewed.
Why Build AlignCS?
CSforALL decided to build AlignCS because we saw a growing number of community members interested in CS and a growing repository of materials and programs to help them do just that, but there is no good way of matching them to specific curricular needs.
The word has gotten out about the importance of implementing CS Ed, and now community members are looking for the resources that will enable them to do so.
Between 2013 and 2018, 30 new States enacted at least one CS related policy for a total of 44 states plus D.C. in 2018, according to the 2018 State of Computer Science Education by The Code.org Advocacy Coalition. In this same report its stated that 22 states had K-12 CS standards, 16 up from 2013, and 11 more were in the process of creating them.
With this momentum of adoption, the challenge arises for community members to identify appropriate resources to support them in delivering quality CS Ed to their students. This challenge is compounded by the sheer volume of information, and general lack of common vocabulary and detail at the course description level for a decision-maker to review.
Concerning volume, from our Membership alone, as of November 2019 there are 305 registered content providers, many of whom have multiple available curricula. This complexity of options is an especially acute issue for newcomers to CS. Going by the recency of wide CS adoption efforts, newcomers form a considerable part of the audience CSforALL seeks to serve.
To illustrate the need for a mechanism for defining what topics/concepts will be supported by a curriculum or program, in 2018 CSforALL created a landscape of content available for the K-2 grade band using our member base as a sample. At the time 47 member organizations explicitly marked themselves as serving K-2, and out of them only 15 had content publicly available for review. We reviewed those 15 and categorized how many of them aligned to the K12 CS Framework Subconcepts for K-2. While this sample is not necessarily representative of the space, we believe that this review indicates the need for a way to landscape the content available for CS Ed.
More to come
This curriculum directory is just the first phase of our efforts to support access, decision-making and awareness of Curricula and Programs in the CS Ed space. Stay tuned for more!
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