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Massachusetts Sets Standards for Computer Science, Digital Literacy

Massachusetts schools could soon be using new standards for teaching computer science and digital literacy.

The state board of education voted unanimously to adopt the new standards, which are voluntary, earlier this week. Schools can begin using them as soon as this fall.

The standard are unique in that they integrate goals for both computational thinking and basic computer use, including how to operate digital tools, use the internet safely, and combat cyberbullying.

"Our next step is to see how we can help develop the capacity to incorporate these standards more fully into the K-12 curriculum," Massachusetts Secretary of Education James A. Peyser said in a press release.

The standards were written by educators and industry representatives and then put out for public review. 

More states and districts are pushing to get computer science into public schools. Virginia recently became the first state to require that all K-12 students learn the subject. Arkansas has also been ahead on the computer science push—every high school in the state must offer computer science courses, and in the next couple of years all elementary and middle school students there will get computer science instruction. However, states haven't generally combined computer science with digital literacy, or the broad skills and behaviors needed to use digital devices and the internet. 

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