updated 4/13/2006 7:47:05 AM ET 2006-04-13T11:47:05

With all the recent talk about improving math and basic science education to keep the United States competitive, Chris Stephenson worries that a third piece of the educational picture is being forgotten: computer science.

Now Stephenson, executive director of the Computer Science Teachers Association, is hoping to overcome that somewhat by giving away free teaching resources for use in kindergarten through 12th-grade computer classes.

In conjunction with IBM Corp., the group has developed and tested in the field lesson plans and other materials that help educators teach such important skills as Web design and Java programming.

Other free resources for computer science teachers have been made available before, but Stephenson said those have tended to be slightly modified versions of training guides originally intended for professionals.

"This is really kind of a new approach," she said.  "The thing that computer science teachers say they want more than anything else is access to good resources.  It is not exaggerating in any way to say they are really desperate for them."

The project was funded by $75,000 from IBM, which also contributed three of the six people who developed the teaching resources.  The material was due to become available on Thursday.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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