CS Recitations Blog

A blog with thoughts and observations about the benefits of computer science education for kids and teens.

What a Difference a Year Makes!

Dave Horrigan - Tuesday, August 25, 2020

“Why are your classes a full year long?”  This is a question we frequently get from parents when discussing our unique computer science program.  Unlike other programs (some of which have popped up just since the pandemic created a demand for online programs), we don’t teach computer science in week-long or even month-long workshops.  Because Computer Science, like other academic subjects, is a deep and enriching discipline, our curriculum is organized around year-long age-appropriate courses designed to leave students empowered to code on their own once completed.

Would you sign your student up for an “Hour of Trumpet” or a “Week of Piano”?  Probably not. Your child might have some fun with a Week of Piano and might enjoy listening to some great piano tunes, but they would not make any meaningful progress toward learning to play the piano.  At best, they might emerge being able to play a perky rendition of “Hot Cross Buns”.  At worst, they might become frustrated that they’ve spent a week and still can’t play a song they like, or that they need to start over next summer and be taught “Hot Cross Buns” a second time or a third time in an endless cycle of disjointed week-long workshops.

Learning Computer Science is a lot like learning to play the piano.  You have to have an organized, age-appropriate curriculum taught by expert teachers, and you have to stick with it, building and applying skills and broadening your repertoire. Students who complete our courses leave empowered with the knowledge to create their own projects.  Most re-enroll for additional courses.  Indeed, our year-long CSR-100 Introduction to Computing course for 5th and 6th graders has seen 95% reenrollment for the past three years!  Students love to learn how to do things for themselves – and unfortunately most short workshops and camps do not teach students how to create code by themselves. Instead, they show students how to use software and how to copy and play with someone else’s creation.  Our courses teach them the skills and confidence they need to become lifelong coders and computer scientists!

All of our in-person courses meet 30 times throughout the school year, meeting once per week for either 1.5 hours or 2 hours.

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