Talking about Computer Science for Good in Your Classroom

Computer science is a foundational subject in today’s world that will benefit students in any career path. It not only gives them room to flex their creativity but also equips them with the tools to tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems.

How computer science is used and applied in the real world is a crucial part of learning computer science. That is why we’re focusing on #CSforGood as the theme for the Hour of Code this year. We can help students understand some of the challenges that people around the world face and inspire them to think more deeply about the role computer science can play in creating a more equitable and sustainable world.

Using the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a guide, we want to help convey to students how computer science can make a positive impact in our world - from self-driving car technology that can make our roads safer, to data science techniques that can identify disease earlier and keep us healthier.

Example #CSforGood discussion prompts

Here are some themes and questions to spark discussion in your classroom about the role of technology in creating positive social change.

Technology can be part of the solution.

While large, systemic challenges like poverty and environmental sustainability often require attitude shifts, wide-scale cooperation, and in some cases, personal or collective sacrifice, technology can help jumpstart efforts, detect problems, and ease barriers.

Questions or prompts for discussion:

Computer science is helping address challenges, big and small, all around the world.

Whether building affordable technology to help farmers in sub-Saharan Africa, programming white blood cells to fight cancer, or revolutionizing the packaged foods industry with artificial intelligence, people are using CS in creative ways to solve problems and provide opportunities for others.

Questions or prompts for discussion:

Note for teachers: Use the above articles OR find a few of your own and distribute them to students to read beforehand. Then, use them to structure your discussion.

With great power comes great responsibility.

Computer science can be a source of positive change...or it can create new challenges. By recognizing that CS, like any tool, requires thoughtfulness and ethical responsibility, we can empower students to think critically and work on solving problems holistically.

Questions or prompts for discussion:

Today’s students will be tomorrow’s problem-solvers, innovators, and decision-makers.

The more accessible CS education is, the more students we can reach and the more inclusive, diverse, and impactful tomorrow’s technology and solutions will be.

Questions or prompts for discussion: