ExpandED Pathways: Computer Science as a Catalyst | ExpandED Schools
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ExpandED Pathways: Computer Science as a Catalyst

Sabrina Gomez

By Sabrina Gomez, Director ExpandED Pathways and Steve Roberts, STEM Manager.           

Wednesday APRIL 25th Join Us "ExpandED Pathways: Computer Science as a Catalyst." This is a roundtable discussion about how educators can teach computer science and inspire the next wave of tech workers. This event is being brought to you by Google and The Carroll and Milton Petrie Foundation.

- To Register: CS as CATALYST

Computer Science as a Catalyst

 

Across the country, few children are being taught the basics of computer science. The students that are gaining computer literacy usually have three things going for them; an interest in technology, access to technology, and relationships with tech-minded adults.

This leaves out a large number of young students who might otherwise contribute to this growing field. According to a Gallup poll commissioned by Google published in 2015, while a little more than half of 7th through 12th grade students attend a school that offers dedicated computer science classes, students of color are far less likely than their white peers to have access to dedicated courses, and boys are more likely than girls to hear that they would be good at computer science.

No surprise that despite the efforts of many big tech companies to have a diverse workforce, technical workers in this industry are still predominantly male and white.

 

DISRUPTION REQUIRED

The increasing number of students in the U.S. from low-income households and the growing proportion of our young people who are Latino may contribute to a future workforce shortage and economic crisis if these students graduate without computer skills or a working knowledge of technology.

Incorporating computer science into education requires more than adding a new area of proficiency  to an already overloaded schedule. It must be a creative infusion that will introduce and inspire students, engaging them in how to use computers to solve real-world problems.

While computer science is considered by many to be all about coding, that limited view is misleading. The ability to solve real world problems using technology does require some familiarity with algorithms, commands, and acronyms. Beyond that, the valuable skills computer science offers might surprise you. What big tech companies are looking for are workers who can collaborate with a team, can present effectively, and break down a main task into small steps.  This is the very definition of someone who can “think computationally,” and it’s easy to see how this would be a valuable skill in many fields.

 

 INNOVATION INSPIRES

Cities like New York are giving big tech companies some hope, as they make computer science education a priority. There is a groundswell of organizations, like ExpandED Schools, pushing for innovation in this area as well. On April 25th, the organization is hosting an event “ExpandED Pathways: Computer Science as a Catalyst,” a chance for ExpandED Schools to share their recent efforts to assist young educators to become more adept at teaching computer science and inspire more young people to pursue it. The ExpandED Schools Pathways STEM initiative is supported by Google and The Carroll and Milton Petrie Foundation.

“It sounds obvious,” says ExpandED Schools Pathways STEM Manager, Steve Roberts, “But, we have to prepare our youth for the new jobs that are being created for them.” 

Afterschool is a great place to fill in the gap of tech education. These programs have more freedom to introduce computer science in more interesting ways. They can bring in a robot to experiment with, or invite a guest speaker to come and share what a job in cybersecurity might look like. If more opportunities like this exist, students will not only learn about the variety of jobs that are available in computer science, they might discover an aptitude they didn’t know they had--and an chance to pursue it. That would be a great start to creating a more diverse workforce force in technology.

 

JOIN US for ExpandED Pathways: Computer Science as a Catalyst.

Wednesday APRIL 25th @ Hostos Community College

To register visit: CS CATALYST

 

 

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