- Sandra Wiseman, the school library media specialist/technology integration specialist at Woodsdale Elementary in West Virginia, has worked to improve tech options for young students, saying there is a dearth of qualified computer science majors throughout the state.
- Wiseman found free coding curricula online for K-5 students at code.org, and she also recommended mama.codes and codeclub.org for educators who want to introduce coding concepts to young students, including children in pre-K, she writes for EdSurge. The latter helps students learn to code with Scratch, HTML & CSS and Python.
- With grant funding, Wiseman introduced robotics to students, helping the younger children understand real-world applications of their coding experience, and she says it is too early to evaluate the curriculum’s long term impact, but teachers are anecdotally reporting positive results.
As colleges and universities continue to seek new avenues of revenue while struggling to fulfill demands for more affordability and access for low-income students, there are regions and communities in the country where institutions could consider investing resources. There are likely many students in Wiseman’s West Virginia community who would like to pursue a tech education and career, but lack the funds or the ability to travel far from home. Colleges and universities could shift their approach to find new ways to reach these students.
Some institutions have invested in ‘microcampuses’ in foreign countries, offering dual-degree programs while working out of a partner school’s facilities. Colleges and universities could consider applying that kind of approach to underserved regions within the United States. Perhaps schools can partner with community tech leaders like Wiseman to gauge the interest to help establish such a program, and set up a remote classroom for interested undergraduates, and the increased popularity of online learning has made the need for a "campus experience" less paramount to student applicants. If there are individuals like Wiseman, shepherding K-12 students in underserved communities through tech education, colleges and universities could leverage her experience to turn those K-12 students into graduates with a degree in a tech field.