Computer Science Education Week Highlights Urgent Need

CSEW

When I was a kid, my father was recognized as Science Teacher of the Year. He ran enrichment programs, shuffling kids onto buses after school and walking them through the local salt marshes, loaded down with nets and test tubes, Ziploc baggies and grease pencils. This was his way of teaching them marine biology.

My father knew that to inspire kids, you have to put the text books down and show them why they need to care. This is why programs that offer young people hands-on experiences are so important.

Computer Science Education Week, an annual event held in December, is dedicated to showing K-12 students the importance of computer science education. Observed in recognition of the birthday of computing pioneer Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, CSEW is organized by the Computing in the Core coalition and Code.org.

A portion of the event—dubbed the “Hour of Code”—is dedicated to highlighting computer science and debunking the notion that code is too difficult to understand and learn.

In an age where myriad summer camps offer courses in rocketry and robotics, you may be surprised to hear just how dire the need is for computer scientists.

Research shows that students who study computer science also perform better at math. And more than 50 percent of all jobs in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) are computing jobs. But:

  • Computer programming jobs are growing at two times the national average, and there aren’t enough graduates to fill these jobs
  • Nine out of 10 K-12 schools do not offer computer programming classes
  • In 35 out of 50 states, computer science does not count toward high school graduation

Check out this nifty infographic Code.org put together. Kind of hard to ignore the opportunity.

The Hour of Code will bring together major tech rivals including Apple, Google, Amazon and Microsoft. The four giants recently joined to support the initiative, erasing any doubt about how important it is to the tech industry to foster a love of technology early on.

CSEW and the Hour of Code is coming December 9-15.

Photo Credit: Blue Glow by Jim Sneddon on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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