The Virtual High School Launching College Board’s New Computer Science Course

Industry News
AP® Computer Science Principles prepares all students to succeed in a fast-paced working world that is increasingly online, data-driven, and powered by programming.

The Virtual High School (VHS, Inc.) is piloting a new introductory college-level computer science course in fall 2016, designed to appeal to all students in grades 10-12, not just those interested in STEM subjects.

The goal of AP® Computer Science Principles is to promote success across all disciplines in today’s technology-driven society. The course will foster logical thinking, problem-solving skills, and creativity in students with diverse backgrounds and interests.

VHS is among the first online providers in the United States to offer this College Board course.

“It’s important that today’s students learn to use core computer science concepts to solve real-world problems,” said Carol Ribeiro, President and CEO of VHS. “This is not about becoming a master coder, it’s about developing computational thinking skills that allow students to identify problems and propose and evaluate solutions in a technology-rich society. The workplace demands these skills, and by developing them in high school, students gain problem-solving strategies that are essential for future college experiences and careers.”

The exciting new VHS course implements the ambitious College Board curriculum framework by guiding students into the world of networked devices, documents, data points, and – most importantly – people. In the course, students explore the big ideas of computer science through vibrant discussions, activities and collaborative projects that incorporate videos, tutorials and readings, using the latest edition of the “New Perspectives on Computer Concepts” text by Parsons.  An innovative combination of resources, lessons and technology within the Brightspace learning management system, as well as Scratch and Pencil Code development platforms, provides opportunity for students to explore concepts and demonstrate skills in:  
•    Collaborative problem solving
•    Algorithmic reasoning and sketching
•    Creative design of unique programming artifacts and solutions
•    Data representation through modeling and simulations
•    Two AP “Performance Tasks”, submitted digitally to the College Board

“The course is unique in its focus on fostering creativity,” said Ribeiro. “VHS students will be encouraged to think creatively using computer software and other technology to explore real-world questions that interest them, in subjects ranging from STEM to sports, theater, music, and more. Furthermore, the curriculum is explicitly designed to motivate and engage young women and other students historically underrepresented in computing.”

Ribeiro concluded, “The need for computer science-savvy citizens is so strong that the White House launched a Computer Science for All initiative in January, 2016. We believe the College Board’s AP® Computer Science Principles course will help students better understand their options and encourage broader participation in computer science and STEM fields. That means a larger, more diverse group will have access to high-paying tech jobs in the future.”

The VHS course syllabus is currently under review by College Board and pending approval. For more information visit: https://my.vhslearning.org/PublicCourseDescription.aspx?c=427

 

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