Google’s Free Computer Science Courses Train Students to Code and Develop Computational Thinking

Google is offering students a rich and easy to use curriculum in computer science. Starting with their CSFirst program, which makes coding easy to teach and fun to learn. The program boasts that teachers don’t have to be computer science teachers in order to teach their courses. The tools that are available for teachers are free of charge. Students learn through video tutorials and block-based coding in Scratch, creating projects covering different themes, such as discovery, art, storytelling and game design.

At the high school level they have the Code Next program, in which they cultivate the next generation of black, latin and native tech leaders. In this program students are either part of the Code Next live labs or through the Code Next Connect online program. Students learn computer science and problem solving and become creative computational thinkers. The program is after school and on weekends and students engage in both solo and team projects producing websites, programs and other demonstrations of their learning and interests. Students end up maturing into effective and ethical leaders ready to take on the world with the help of their Googler mentors.

The benefits of these programs are not just developing students who can code, but also instilling in them the skill of computational thinking that they can apply in any problem solving situation they encounter. At its core, computational thinking is simply a way to process information using higher-order or critical thinking. Whether it’s taught in coding class or social studies, the framework is the same: look at the provided information, narrow it down to the most valuable data, find patterns and identify themes.