RUSD Embraces Google CS First Program

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(This article contains excerpts from cs-first.com)

Riverside Unified School District (RUSD) is embracing innovation as an early adopter of Google’s new educational program, Google CS First. Google CS First is a free program that increases student access and exposure to computer science (CS) education through after-school, in-school, and summer programs. RUSD is piloting a CS First club throughout the district, introducing students to the world of computer science and coding. With numerous avenues and themes available, students are able to tap into their creative energy and learn about music and sound, fashion design, game design and many other subjects.

“It is a really exciting time in education!” says, Steve Dunlap, RUSD’s Director of Innovation and Learner Engagement. 

Each CS First club is based on a real world theme and consists of about 10 hours’ worth of lessons and activities. In order to make the CS First program accessible to as many kids as possible, Google has designed the CS First programs to be extremely user-friendly. To start a club, you do not need an extensive background in computer science and coding. All you need to launch a CS First club is computers and group students with creative spirit. The different club themes offered aim to attract and engage students of varying backgrounds and interests. All of the materials are targeted at students in 4th - 8th grades (or between the ages of 9 - 14), and are free and easy to use.

As of now, the CS First program is just an extra-curricular activity for students in Riverside Unified to get involved in during their free time. With the program just in its beginning stages, Dunlap hopes to really grow the project and take this opportunity to catapult RUSD to the forefront of innovation.

“We hope to use the CS First program to partner with the City, local businesses and organizations to expand the program city wide,” says Dunlap.

Google CS First is viewed as an excellent opportunity to introduce our future generation to the intriguing world of computer science. Students are using computers more often than ever before, and this will allow them to learn what goes on behind the screen. Embracing the CS First program is just one more opportunity for Riverside to live up to its reputation as the City of Arts and Innovation.

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