3 Reasons Computer Science Is Important at An All-Girls High School

Posted by Camille Burke on Dec 21, 2016 12:00:00 AM

With a generation of learners who grew up in an age of the Internet, smartphones and 3-D printers, robotics and computer programming are playing a more important role in educational curricula than ever before.

About 80 percent of jobs created in the next decade will require a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) educational background. However, just 16 percent of high school seniors are currently proficient in mathematics and interested in a STEM career. Women in particular hold only 24 percent of jobs in STEM fields, according to the National Science Foundation.

In response, schools have had to adjust curricular and extracurricular offerings to “meet the wants of the age” and stay competitive. Computer Science Education Week, the global initiative that took place earlier this month, provided schools with a forum to highlight some of the reasons why it is essential that computer science becomes a core academic subject in K-12 education. Here’s just a few:

1. We’re Well Beyond the Information and Digital Ages
This is the generation that is not only growing up with the Internet – they’re changing it. With social media, smartphones and the Internet of Things, our students today have access to so many more tools – the opportunities are endless. This year alone, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg created his own virtual assistant called Jarvis using artificial intelligence. Amazon announced the concept of its ambient intelligence Go store. At Oak Knoll, one of our high school students created a smartphone app. Computer science education will continue to open doors for students in a digital world that is drastically changing every day.

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2. STEM careers are in demand but are still male dominated
Virtually every career our students will enter now will require some degree of understanding of computational thinking and technology. But while women make up half of the total U.S. college-educated workforce, women remain underrepresented in science and engineering jobs, according to the National Girls Collaborative Project.

“Supporting women STEM students and researchers is not only an essential part of America’s strategy to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world; it is also important to women themselves,” according to whitehouse.gov.

By spreading the word about computer science education to girls, we can support their abilities and interests in the hope that they will pursue careers in computer science.

A lot of research indicates that women will go into science and technology fields as long as it helps other people and society. It has to have a purpose. For example, right now there tend to be more women in medical school than men. If we can continue this trend with computers, technology and robotics, the thinking is that women will gravitate toward those fields.

 

Engineering students kicked off #ComputerScienceWeek today with an #HourofCode by demonstrating @Makerbot 3D printers to their classmates! 🖨🖥 #Computereducation #teched #3dprinters

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3. Computer Programming Prepares Students for the Future
The lessons they learn in the computer science and robotics classrooms can be carried with them through life. It teaches them to think outside the box and to piece together small steps to create something bigger. In the classroom, students put together small movements and create larger processes for their robots. That’s going to help them because they will encounter similar processes either in the lab or even with a word problem in math. We’ve seen robotics build confidence in students each and every day.

Topics: technology, engineering, education, computer science, all-girls, high school, STEM, Math, science