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What is Computer Science?

Is your tween or teen interested in technology, computers, or STEM? Does he or she want to be computer literate? Computer literate means knowing computer science, the foundation for computing.

 

Themba Tutоrѕ can support students with technology at all levels. We offer in-home and online computer science tutoring for 6th through 12th-grade students. Themba Tutors can introduce new skills and concepts or supplement the computer science curriculum at your child’s school. 

 

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There is sometimes confusion between “computer science” and the everyday use of computers. Everyday computing is solely focused on the use of technology. Here are the four ways technologies are used at home, in school, and at work.

 

 

Computer literacy

 

Is the use of digital tools and computer applications, such as creating a PowerPoint or searching the Internet. 

 

 

Educational technology

 

Is when teachers use computer literacy to support classroom subjects such as Social Studies, Science, Math, or English Language Arts. Activities might include using a web-based application to store writing assignments or creating a podcast for a history research project. 

 

 

Digital citizenship

 

Is learning how to be responsible with technology and keep information secure.

 

 

Information technology (IT)

 

Focuses on installing and operating computers and software in industries, businesses, and organizations. There is an overlap with computer science. IT professionals might have a background in computer science.

 

In contrast, computer science is an understanding of why computers work and how to create those technologies. Computer science actually builds on the four technologies described above. We define computer science asthe study of computers and algorithmic processes, including their principles, their hardware and software designs, their [implementation], and their impact on society (Tucker et. al, 2003, p. 6).

 

Why Study Computer Science?

At Themba Tutors, our digital literacy tutors will design a learning plan around your student’s needs and are age-appropriate. Our goal is to support your student to be digitally literate and supplement what your child or teen is learning in school.

 

Students will learn skills from the list below. The possibilities are endless. 

 

The world is influenced by technology. Computers and technologies are tools for learning and expression in a variety of disciplines. “To be well-educated citizens in a computing-intensive world and to be prepared for careers in the 21st century, our students must have a clear understanding of the principles and practices of computer science.” (CSTA, 2017, www.csteachers.org)

 

In 2016, professionals and educators in the field of computer science developed a vision and guidelines for our nation’s schools. The document titled  “The K–12 Computer Science Framework”  (http://www.k12cs.org) states Computer science’s ways of thinking, problem-solving, and creating have become invaluable to all parts of life…The K–12 Computer Science Framework envisions a future in which students have informed citizens who can:

 

  • critically engage in public discussion on computer science topics;
  • develop as learners, users, and creators of computer science knowledge and artifacts;
  • better understand the role of computing in the world around them; and
  • learn, perform, and express themselves in other subjects and interests. 

 

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Themba Tutors has adopted the vision from the Framework. All students can gain computer science knowledge and become both users and creators of computing technology. Computer Science prepares middle and high school students for a variety of college experiences and careers. As stated by computer educators, “students who graduate with a K–12 computer science foundation will go on to be computationally literate members of society who are not just consumers of technology but creators of it. They will become doctors, artists, entrepreneurs, scientists, journalists, and software developers who will drive even greater levels of innovation in these and a variety of other fields, benefiting their communities and the world.”(http://www.k12cs.org

What Do Middle and High School Students Learn in Computer Science?

 

The great news is that students can learn computer science’s principles, practices, and skills at any point in their education. Computer science courses are divided into three sections including core practices, computational thinking skills, and concepts. They are taught in a progression from grades k to 12.  

 

Themba Tutors align tutoring goals with your school’s curriculum, your child’s needs, and their skill level. We use the progression chart here published by the CSTA and/or your school’s curriculum to determine a tutoring plan. Progression Chart for Computer Science

 

First, the core practices are “ways of thinking”. 

Students need the following skills in order to understand why computers work and how to create these technologies.

 

The seven practices include:

 

    1. Fostering an Inclusive Computing Culture
    2. Collaborating Around Computing
    3. Recognizing and Defining Computational Problems
    4. Developing and Using Abstractions
    5. Creating Computational Artifacts
    6. Testing and Refining Computational Artifacts
    7. Communicating About Computing

 

Second, students need to learn computational thinking skills. 

 

The core practices, numbers 3 to 6, are these skills broken into learning modules. Computational thinking is the key to computer science. Here is the best definition.  “Computational thinking refers to the thought processes involved in expressing solutions as computational steps or algorithms that can be carried out by a computer.” (Lee I., 2016)  Students learn how to understand the capabilities of computers, formulate problems to be addressed by a computer, and design algorithms that a computer can execute. (2016, http://www.k12cs.org). 

 

Finally, students gain the core concepts of computer science in middle school (level 2) and high school (level 3A). Here are the seven concepts with a few examples of the learning that takes place with computer science studies.

 

 

Computing Systems

This refers to the physical hardware and software (instructions) that communicate and process information in digital form. Students will:

  • learn systems and how the interaction between humans and devices influences design decisions;
  • gain a deeper understanding of the interaction between hardware and software; and
  • explore problem-solving and troubleshooting strategies.

 

 

Networks and the Internet

Devices communicate with each other and share information along with cybersecurity.  Students will: 

  • gain an understanding of how information travels across different networks; and
  • learn ways to protect the information in systems and networks.

 

 

Data and Analysis

This refers to how to collect, process, and store data effectively. 

Students will: 

  • learn what happens when data is collected with computational and automated tools;
  • evaluate different storage methods; 
  • discover patterns and trends and communicate them to others; and
  • practice data science to make inferences, theories, or predictions after collecting data from users or simulations. 

 

Algorithms and Programming

Algorithms and programming control of all computing systems. An algorithm is a sequence of steps to accomplish a specific task, are translated into programs, or code, and provide instructions for computing devices. Students at this level in middle and high school explore the complex world of algorithms after studying programming in elementary school. 

 

Students will:

  • learn how to develop meaningful and efficient programs
  • organize data collections into data structures that are very complex
  • expand their understanding to more complex execution
  • understand modularity or breaking down tasks into simpler tasks and combining simple tasks to create complex tasks
  • learn the design process and make complex decisions involving user constraints, efficiency, ethics, and testing

 

 

Impacts of Computing

 

Students learn how to be responsible and understand the social implications of the digital world, including equity and access to computing. Computing affects people locally, nationally, and globally. 

 

Students will:

  • learn how computing influences culture and in turn, how culture shapes how people engage with computing (belief systems, language, technology, institutions);
  • understand the social part of computers including how to connect people, communicate information, and express ideas;
  • discover how institutions and careers are affected by technologies; and 
  • learn the safety, law, and ethics of using computers. 

 

 

Why Choose Themba Tutors for Computer Science Tutoring? 

 

Our computer science tutors are highly experienced and positive role models. Our tutors use a flexible approach to learning and customize plans for individual students. At Themba Tutors, we help students feel comfortable with new computer science skills and concepts at their own pace. Your child’s confidence will grow when each new skill is mastered. Our staff is dedicated to helping your child achieve academic success in computer science. 

 

If your son or daughter is struggling in computer science or needs enrichment, contact us and we will provide you with the service that will best fit your family’s needs.

REFERENCES

 K–12 Computer Science Framework. (2016). Retrieved from http://www.k12cs.org. “The K–12 Computer Science Framework, led by the Association for Computing Machinery, Code.org, Computer Science Teachers Association, Cyber Innovation Center, and National Math and Science Initiative in partnership with states and districts.

 

Computer Science Teachers Association (2017). CSTA K-12 Computer Science Standards, Revised 2017. Retrieved from http://www.csteachers.org/standards

 

Lee, I. (2016). Reclaiming the roots of CT. CSTA Voice: The Voice of K–12 Computer Science Education and Its Educators, 12(1), 3–4. Retrieved from http://www.csteachers.org/resource/resmgr/Voice/csta_voice_03_2016.pdf

 

Tucker, A., McCowan, D., Deek, F., Stephenson, C., Jones, J., & Verno, A. (2006). A model curriculum for K–12 computer science: Report of the ACM K–12 task force curriculum committee (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Association for Computing Machinery.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Is computer science hard?

Computer Science is a hard discipline to learn. But, if you are motivated and devote sufficient time to studying the discipline, then it is possible to learn Computer Science. Initially, Computer Science seems hard because learning to program is challenging. … However, most of people learn skills step-by-step over time.

What is computer science easy definition?

Computer science is the study of computers and computing concepts. It includes both hardware and software, as well as networking and the Internet. The hardware aspect of computer science overlaps with electrical engineering. It covers the basic design of computers and the way they work

COMPUTER SCIENCE TUTORS, Themba Tutors

At Themba Tutors, we will let you know what kind of help you need once we set up a free intake. Knowing the student’s strengths and weaknesses is vital for helping the student with the challenges they’re facing. We offer services that include academic coaching and tutoring based on the student’s needs. We also offer a hybrid model for those students who need help with content and improving their underlying study skills. 

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Our Computer Science Tutors and Coach can help you!

Call: (917) 382-8641, Text: (201) 831-9848 

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