Students need exposure to computer science. Whether we agree on not, computers are integrated into our every day life. From banking, to smart phones, to our entertainment, computer science has a huge impact on us.
“In the coming years, we should build on that progress, by … offering every student the hands-on computer science and math classes that make them job-ready on day one.”
~President Barack Obama, 2016 State of the Union Address
To bring computer science, coding, to all learners code.org was launched in 2013 by twin brothers, Hadi and Ali Partovi. The purpose of the annual Hour of Code campaign is to get all learners K-12 exposure to coding and computational thinking skills that allow learners to take processes apart and find errors in the logic. Currently there is 124,846 events registered across the United States to celebrate the Hour of Code. Globally, this grassroots event will impact tens of millions learners in over 180 different languages.
So what are you doing to engage your learners in computer science this week and beyond? Hopefully you are offering exposure in some way, shape, or form. Sadly, I hear too often I don’t teach computers and coding has nothing to do with my subject. This is wrong and a mentality we need to overcome. We want our students to be prepared for a future where most jobs are dependent upon, if not directly dealing with computers. Preparing students to be problem solvers who can program and fix programming errors in never a bad idea when:
- Pennsylvania currently has 16,976 open computing jobs (3.2 times the average demand rate in Pennsylvania).
- The average salary for a computing occupation in PA is $85,654, which is significantly higher than the average salary in the state ($47,540). The existing open jobs alone represent a $1,454,062,304 opportunity in terms of annual salaries.
- Pennsylvania had only 2,969 computer science graduates in 2015; only 20% were female.
If this data intrigues you, you can find more information here.
Code.org has committed to making computer science activities that can be implemented with little to no coding experience by the adults in the room and a wide variety of activities that can easily be implemented in math, science, ELA, social studies, or exploratory courses in grades K-12. I challenge you to take a peek at the opportunities available for our learners on this site and even if you just allow students to dabble during a SOAP or advisory period I am sure you will get sucked into the excitement as they explore computer science in a fun and engaging activity complete with online tutorials and guides. How can you possibly go wrong by exposing students to a skillset that is in high demand today and will be even higher tomorrow?
“Learning to write programs stretches your mind, and helps you think better, creates a way of thinking about things that I think is helpful in all domains.”