2% That’s the estimate of how many high school students in all of California took a Computer Science class in 2015. And yet, computers and data are everywhere. Just consider a typical 24 hours in your life … how many different computer devices do you use? We all live in multiple digital worlds that are changing rapidly with new apps, devices, and data analyses offering a constant stream of innovations and technology integrations for our lives.
As it's an integral part of our lives, we’re working towards computer science for all - making it possible for every student, every future member of society, to understand computing and technology. To do so, we need teachers. Teachers prepared to both teach computational concepts and use best practices so kids enjoy and see they can be successful in computer science. This is where you (and this Specialization) come in!
In this Specialization you will both learn about the impacts of computing in our world and how to teach these impacts to K-12 students. We offer both the technical knowledge and also the pedagogical approaches for teaching these concepts. Along the way you’ll engage with freely available materials you can use in your own classroom, as well as learn from teachers currently teaching these concepts in their classrooms.
In short - in this Specialization we'll teach you the computing concepts you need to know and then help you explore and evaluate lesson plans and resources to prepare you for your classroom.
What is the refund policy?
Can I just enroll in a single course?
Yes! To get started, click the course card that interests you and enroll. You can enroll and complete the course to earn a shareable certificate, or you can audit it to view the course materials for free. When you subscribe to a course that is part of a Specialization, you’re automatically subscribed to the full Specialization. Visit your learner dashboard to track your progress.
Is financial aid available?
Can I take the course for free?
Is this course really 100% online? Do I need to attend any classes in person?
This course is completely online, so there’s no need to show up to a classroom in person. You can access your lectures, readings and assignments anytime and anywhere via the web or your mobile device.
Will I earn university credit for completing the Specialization?
This Specialization doesn't carry university credit, but some universities may choose to accept Specialization Certificates for credit. Check with your institution to learn more.
Who should take the Specialization?
This Specialization has been developed primarily to support K-12 teachers (but best targets middle and high school) in educating their students about the technologies impacting their lives and putting those students on a solid path towards comfort and interest in computing. However, this course is valuable to anyone interested in learning about the technical knowledge of how computation in our digital world works and is causing all sorts of changes, as well as how to teach that knowledge to others -- which includes, among others, members of the tech community involved in K-12 outreach, parents, and other informal educators.
What resources will I create by successfully completing the projects in each of the Specialization courses?
In each course you will evaluate and/or augment an activity or lesson plan, which you'll then be able to take straight into a classroom. Specifically, for each course:
Course 1: Evaluate and Modify an Unplugged Activity on Networks
Course 2: Use Fiction/Literacy Circles To Teach Computing
Course 3: Evaluate and Add Interactivity to “History of a Pixel” Lesson Plan
Course 4: Explore code.org for materials you can use for a lesson plan on Learning HTML
Course 5: TBD
What will I be able to do upon completing the Specialization?
After successfully completing this Specialization, you will have foundational technical knowledge about the computational technology that surrounds us today and foundational pedagogical knowledge of how to teach that to others, particularly in the K-12 setting. Specifically, you will be able to:
 Analyze various solutions to human problems that technology, computing, and the Internet have enabled - and analyze the impact these have had on our society, economy, and culture. (Impacts of Computing Knowledge)
 Explain and utilize provided resources to teach various computing concepts that underlie the technologies and software that solve these problems for us. (Technical Knowledge)
 Evaluate and reflect on your experiences learning about technology, computing, and the Internet and apply those to creating effective learning activities to support the learning of others. (Pedagogical Knowledge)
 Evaluate resources for effectively teaching issues addressing computer science K-12 concepts: impacts of computing, data and analysis, and networks and the Internet. (Pedagogical Knowledge)
 Complete and evaluate the APCSP Explore Task (in the culminating project). (Technical and Pedagogical KnowledgeI
Will the Specialization help me get the California Supplementary Authorization to teach Computer Science?
Yes! This Specialization is designed as 1 of a set of 4 Specializations (all will be offered on Coursera) that will support the requirements of the California supplementary authorization. Additionally, this Specialization may support credentialing or authorization in other states. However, most states require a transcript from an accredited institution of higher education. This course can support that -- see “Will I earn university credit” below.
What background knowledge is necessary?
There is no background knowledge, neither in education nor in Computer Science, required to take this Specialization - just an interest in learning computational concepts about the technology that surrounds us and how to best teach those concepts to others.
Basic proficiency in the use of Googledocs will be needed to complete assignments within the course. Google help documentation will be provided, and with some extra attention, first time use of Googledocs should not be a barrier to successful completion of the course
How long does it take to complete the Specialization?
There are six courses in this Specialization, one covering each digital world and a final culminating project course. Each course is built around four weekly modules, which can each be completed in approximately three-five hours. However, completion time is very dependent on each learner and the time you’re able to dedicate to the Specialization each week. There are deadlines to help you complete in a timely manner (targeting completion in 24 weeks), but you can move faster (by taking courses concurrently) or slower as suits your needs.
Do I need to take the courses in a specific order?
Each course in the Specialization is built to stand alone and can be taken in the order you choose, or concurrently. However, the course order was developed to build from more individual-focused worlds (24 hours in your digital world, your personal data) to more outward-facing worlds (relationship, career, and global), so if you are taking them sequentially we recommend following their order within the Specialization. At minimum, we recommend starting with the 24 Hours in Your Digital World course and ending with the Culminating Project course.
Which of the CSTA K-12 computer science standards will the Specialization cover?
In terms of the CSTA K-12 computer science standards, we’ll primarily cover learning objectives within the “impacts of computing” concept, while also including some within the “networks and the Internet” concepts and touching upon the “data and analysis” concept. Practices we cover include “fostering and inclusive computing culture”, “recognizing and defining computational problems”, and “communicating about computing”.