- This week is Computer Science Education Week, and schools can gain tips and tricks for maximizing opportunities from Riverside Presbyterian Day School (FL) STEAM Coordinator Kelly Knight's “Get Ready for Hour of Code” webinar, eSchool News reports.
- Knight recommends that educators looking to offer "Hour of Code" lessons reorganize their classrooms to resemble makerspaces, with stations set up for various problem-solving activities, and that they work to get administration on board with such opportunities if they aren't already.
- Additionally, she stresses the importance of flexibility in activities, as well as getting familiarized with what resources, like free coding apps, are available.
With many traditional blue-collar jobs being disrupted by automation and artificial intelligence, coding has been eyed as one potential avenue of pursuit for the new blue-collar workforce. Demand for skilled workers in that and other computer science-related fields is high, with more positions available than there are people to fill them. And with growing acceptance of the notions that not everyone is meant to go to college and that pursuing career-and-technical education is just as respectable, high schools can play a key role in meeting that need.
Of course, there are hurdles to overcome. Perhaps the biggest one is getting students — particularly females and students of color — interested. Part of this involves overthrowing stereotypes like the bespectacled and socially awkward Poindexter, but it will also necessitate schools to demystify math from its status as a difficult and intimidating subject where some students are "math people" and some aren't.
It also can't hurt to make these subjects more relevant to students. Math is in music, and the equations used in coding power the videogames many students likely play. Making these connections and using them to foster an ongoing sense of curiosity is half the battle.