I’m currently in a debate with myself. I have 3 required middle school “technology” courses (one for each grade level) that I have turned into computing/computer science courses. They meet once or twice a week for just a trimester. I really want to expand the MS computing courses but the schedule is crammed. Re-evaluating the whole schedule is not in the cards right now. I’ve been given the opportunity to develop an 8th grade computer science course as an elective. 8th graders are given both a free period and an opportunity to take another academic course, which right now is only a second language course. We would offer computer science as another option.
There are pros and cons to this. On the one hand, having it required means everyone gets exposed to it, so there’s the possibility that someone who didn’t think they’d like computing ends up liking it. On the other hand, it means that my class is big (we can only divide by 3 right now and the 8th grade is big) and I have kids who clearly don’t want to be there. If it were elective, that would solve my two problems: the class would likely be smaller and it would include mostly kids who really want to be there (with the exception of those who will be there because their parents told them to).
My ideal scenario would be to make computing required and a full academic class for all grades, but this might be a decent compromise and/or transition to that. I could really demonstrate what can be done with more time. Or it could bust and I end up with no kids enrolled and then that sucks. What am I missing? What would you do?