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Code.org recently made a splash with its high-profile supporters — everyone from Bill Gates to Snoop Dogg have offered up their support for Code.org’s premise: that everyone should learn to code.

While Code.org’s goals are admirable, the movie above spends near zero time talking about what might be the most important part of the equation: computer science teachers.

The Code.org website has info for interested teachers, but the emphasis is still clearly on enticing students to want to learn to code. That’s great, but what about CS teachers?

To prepare for an upcoming talk at the annual Python conference, Pycon, Mozilla data architect and PostgreSQL contributor Selena Deckelmann recently started talking with actual High School CS teachers and has some surprising, if depressing, take aways about what we can do to help kids learn to code. Deckelmann’s survey is admittedly informal and rather small, but it’s a start.

Deckelmann reports that “reading comprehension is the biggest barrier to completion of AP Computer Science” and that “continued existence” is the biggest battle for a computer science teacher every year.

Deckelmann cites a 2010 report that found “the number of secondary schools offering introductory computer science courses dropped 17 percent from 2005 to 2009 and the number offering Advanced Placement (AP) computer science courses dropped 35 percent in that time period.”

More encouraging is that students at one high school learned three languages in three years (C++, Java and Python).

It’s also interesting to note that Deckelmann says “the CS teachers I’ve met want to share their lessons — with me and with other teachers,” and that “the CS teachers I’ve met don’t know other CS teachers.” That sounds like an opportunity for some kind of social site if anyone is interested — just be sure to talk to some actual teachers before you start building.

If you’re planning to be at Pycon this weekend be sure to check out Deckelmann’s talk “What teachers really need from us.”

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TEDxBozeman - Paul Andersen - Classroom Game Design

Paul Andersen has been teaching science in Montana for the last eighteen years. He explains how he is using elements of game design to improve learning in his AP Biology classroom. Paul's science videos have been viewed millions of times by students around the world. He was the 2011 Montana Teacher of the Year and he is currently a science teacher at Bozeman High School. For more information on Paul's work visit www.bozemanscience.com. Paul Andersen has been teaching high school science in Montana for the last seventeen years. He has been teaching science on YouTube for the last three years. Paul began his career teaching all the science classes at a small rural school in northern Montana. Paul is currently an AP Biology teacher and technology mentor at Bozeman High School. Paul uses technology and game mechanics to increase engagement in his classroom. Paul is the 2011 Montana Teacher of the Year and was one of four finalists for National Teacher of the Year. About TEDx, x = independently organized event In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized <b>...</b>
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