The Oklahoma State Department of Education recently unveiled new computer science standards and they’re asking for public input.
The new guidelines involve introducing computer science concepts into lessons, starting in kindergarten and continuing through high school. OSDE assistant executive director of curriculum and instruction Levi Patrick said the guidelines will help teachers incorporate new skills, like coding, into core subjects like math, reading and science.
Ardmore City Schools superintendent Kim Holland said the new guidelines would be a significant change for the district, which currently doesn’t offer any computer science courses, but does have computer tech courses that teach the basics.
“We don’t have any kind of class where we’re teaching coding right now,” Holland said. “The classes we do have are very focused on helping kids be more productive in the classroom.”
The schools’ current curriculum focuses more on basic skills like using the internet to do accurate research. At the high school level, students learn to make presentations, create resumes and fill out job applications, but don’t get into anything more advanced.
“I don’t understand fully what the thought behind [the new guidelines] are, I’d have to know more,” Holland said. “It could be a good thing, but I need to understand how they’re going to fund this without taking funds away from the programs we already have, that are already strapped.”
 Some tech-minded kids have found another way to learn to code. Champion Public Library added scratch coding cards and Ozobots, two fairly simple tools to help kids get that hang of writing basic code, to their shelves last summer.
“We do scratch coding on Fridays during our Teen Time, for kids 11 and older,” youth services coordinator Stephanie Way said. “They can’t check (the cards) out, but we can set them up on a computer and they can do it here.”
Once a user makes an account, they can access the scratch coding program from home or school. Way said the library has held more structured lessons for younger children in the past and is planning to hold more.
The department is taking public comments at until January 8. After that, the new standards will undergo final revisions and be submitted to the Oklahoma State Board of Education.