Amidst the havoc that the pandemic has wreaked on our lives, there have been important lessons to be learned. Tech-savvy people can be successful, and it has proven that many of the potential problems of the future can be solved by technology.
Many institutions and people who embraced technology have survived and, in some cases, thrived. But for those without digital skills and without access to a computer or internet connection, it was a whole different story.
During the pandemic, the term “homework gap” was used to describe children who were unable to complete assignments without reliable access or access to the internet or appropriate digital devices. Early in the pandemic, an estimated 15 million U.S. public school students lacked the connectivity they needed for online learning. This gap was particularly pronounced among low-income, Black, and Hispanic households. Almost all schools adopted some form of online learning, so students without computers and connectivity struggled. Schools worked hard to deal with the situation, but for other schools it was only to watch their students struggle and fall behind.
In an increasingly digital world, the lack of technology skills can significantly reduce life options. Computer science has the potential to level the playing field and prepare students for the future. The easiest entry point into a school is to offer a programming class, but this subject covers a wide range of subjects. He uses computer science to visualize and analyze data and design and develop complex yet intuitive visual interfaces for digital tools. Ultimately, we approach life’s problems and ideas with a mind sharpened for computational thinking. Breaking down ideas into small steps, thinking about problems in both specific and general forms, looking for patterns and simplifications, and finally creating dynamic solutions.
Under these circumstances, it’s incredible that teachers like me still have to fight to teach computer science in schools. It’s a subject only half of high schools teach, and only 5% of students study it.
There are complicated reasons for this. Computer Science is not mandated in the majority of US states (only five of his states are), so to advocate teaching coding classes, an already passionate and educated person in the field I need a teacher who has received Not all teachers are comfortable teaching computer science if they don’t have the skills themselves. Finally, affordability is a major barrier. Between software licenses and getting the right hardware, computer science education can be very expensive.
These challenges are real, but not insurmountable. In fact, our education system has no choice but to adapt. I often tell my students:I am not preparing to solve today’s opportunities, I am helping prepare to solve tomorrow’s unimaginable opportunities.” Technical skills must be a top priority if we want to build the technically skilled workforce needed in the future and prepare young people for success.
In my hometown of Connecticut, the school is on the phone. Today, according to Connecticut’s Computer Science Dashboard, 92% of Connecticut students have access to computer science courses or curriculum learning opportunities, and 88% of Connecticut school districts offer some form of computer science course. I’m here.
Despite the availability of courses, only 12% of Connecticut students take courses. We needed to make computer science accessible and engaging for everyone.
teaching through game design
Like other CSTA chapters, CSTA Connecticut was founded as a local computer science community. We connect computer science teachers, provide professional development, Share the latest best practices in computer science education for K-12.
To give students a taste of computer science, Google worked with schools to expand the range of courses available. A lifelong player of both board and electronics games, I wanted to create a video game class. He currently runs two courses, ‘Introduction to Game Design’ and ‘Advanced Game Design’. The first course is clearly a “Platformer” course, requiring every student to understand how to build a traditional “platform” game in his Construct 3. However, the advanced course is structured like a real-world game studio. Each student chooses a role such as coder, artist, musician, game designer or producer. Game teams then work together to create a style of game that each team has chosen to jointly create.
This intuitive way of approaching game development has proven highly beneficial for students with special educational needs and multilingual learners. Construct 3 is simple enough for learners new to coding, but has better features for advanced courses, allowing students to develop at their own pace and go far.
By 2022, only 24% of Connecticut students enrolled in computer science courses were identified as female. Additionally, only 11% identified as Black, 19% Hispanic, and 0.1% Native American.
Students with underrepresented backgrounds need extra encouragement to try computer science and reap the same benefits from their computing skills. Dispelling stereotypes has proven essential. Many students, especially girls, still believe that computer science is “not for me”, “for boys”, or “too difficult”, or “just sitting in front of a computer screen”. Because there is
When students learn that computer science can also lead to careers in entrepreneurship, automotive design, healthcare, music journalism, fashion, and sports analysis, they become more receptive to career opportunities that come with computer science and provide an escape. There is a possibility. from their current reality. These career opportunities are so vast that computer science can and should support greater diversity, equity, and inclusion. With the right skills, any student can graduate from school and enter a highly lucrative career.
Introducing computer science to teachers
Given that computer science has a limited definition and is largely optional, schools rely on teachers who have a personal interest in programming. The ability of our state’s untrained computer science teachers is amazing, and I wanted to help them take their courses to the next level. After looking at the game development options, Construct 3 was the clear winner. Its intuitive user interface combines both block-based and text-based programming, allowing students to switch between the two as they progress. This is ideal both for students who have never seen a line of code and for advanced and highly capable developers. Its intuitive functionality means that even inexperienced teachers can jump right in and work with their students.
Our computer science course needed to be accessible to all students, including those without connectivity or advanced devices. Seeking accessible platforms has helped bridge this digital divide. Construct 3 can be downloaded for offline use and can be run on inexpensive Chromebooks. This closes the homework gap by giving every student the opportunity to develop their skills, regardless of family income.
Organizations such as the National Center for Women in Technology and local higher education institutions are also filling these opportunity gaps through various scholarships and affordable courses.
In addition to formal academic training, many schools and libraries host an “Hour of Code” during National Computer Science Education Week starting December 5th. These fun, casual events give kids creative experiences with technology. Websites such as Code.org hosted free online coding challenges, and CyberStart America hosted a free online cybersecurity contest for high school students. Our Lt. Governor’s Computing Challenge offers different levels of entry from 3rd grade through her 12th grade. Participating in Hour of Code and online competitions are great ways for schools to test the potential of their computer science courses.
Inequality in the United States will not disappear overnight. To fill the “homework gap” and give disadvantaged students an equal chance to succeed in the modern world, schools must be able to teach them computer science. All students should leave school with an understanding not only of how to use technology, but also how to create with it. By showing students the joy of mastering technology and programming, they become hungry adults, ready to seize all the opportunities of the digital revolution.
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