Alabama becomes early adopter of new computer science standards

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The Alabama State Board of Education on Tuesday announced new statewide learning standards that will help students integrate technology into their current studies.

The Digital Literacy and Computer Science (DLCS) standards blend the ability to use information and communication technologies with the study of computers to create an integrated approach to instruction that can enhance any existing educational subject.

Alabama is an early adopter in these practices; being one of only 15 states in the nation to adopt them.

The standards are not a stand-alone course; they work within the existing standards in all subject  areas — reading, math, history, science, social studies, etc. — and in all grades.

The DLCS standards will provide access to various forms of digital learning and computer science, allowing students to become computational thinkers and to familiarize themselves with the digital culture, which is fueling much of the current, and future workforce.

“We want Alabama children to have the benefit of the most significant education standards – especially those that take advantage of an emerging world of careers,” said Ed Richardson, Interim State Superintendent of Education. “The future belongs to those who are best prepared to meet the challenges of a changing educational, professional, and technological landscape.”

Making sure teachers are trained and prepared to implement the DLCS standards is a priority of the SBOE. A+ College Ready, CODE.org, and other organizations have partnered together to educate teachers on how to effectively incorporate DLCS into their classrooms.

“Proficiency in computer science has positive impacts across the curriculum and should be a priority statewide,” said  Dr. Cynthia McCarty, a representative on Alabama Governor Kay Ivey’s Computer Science Advisory Council, and SBOE Representative for District 6. “We know that the careers of the future are increasingly dependent on having some familiarity with computer science, algorithms, and the cognitive and technical skills these standards provide, I would like to see every school in the state embrace this opportunity and continue preparing our students for the future and high-demand careers.”

School systems across the state are given the option to participate in using the new standards for the 2018-2019 school year, but all schools will be required to use the standards at the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year.

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