CS for Good: The Theme for the 2019 Hour of Code

After glancing at the Hour of Code activities posted on Code.org last week, I saw a few platforms that focused on ethical, scientific and social issues (https://code.org/csforgood). Some of the platforms under this category are titled “Codesters: Code Your Own PSA”, “AI for Oceans” and “Plastic Pollution PSA”. Unfortunately, none of the offerings within this theme were available beyond the 8th grade, which is a travesty. Since, APCSP is the fastest growing CS course in the US, competencies and units should be developed to teach our students to become planetary stewards through computer science and coding. As we wait for the College Board to develop new units and content, individual teachers could embed themes into their Create Task practice. My suggestion would be to create summative coding projects such as mobile applications, bots and physical computing projects designed to solve or mitigate some societal or scientific problem. It’s important for APCSP students to have some experience brainstorming issues and creating some type of technical solution using code. CS and coding are essential parts of our overall educational perspective in the United States, but it can’t exist in a capitalistic silo. As CS teachers, we need to empower our students to develop empathetic practices and employ curative approaches to the problematic issues facing our society.