An educator’s view of a potential education staple and its many additional benefits.
GUEST COLUMN | by Aimee Kroll
In the ever-changing technological world, computer science is not only becoming more prominent in classrooms, but a staple in education. Computer science combines the principles of technology and use of computers to educate learners on both the hardware and software of computer technology. The field of computer science is exceptionally diverse, as the skill sets are in-demand across practically every industry — serving as a lucrative and stable career pathway.
In addition, computer science can have many facets — meaning educators can leverage various components of the field to reach students across all levels and learning abilities. With technology present in almost every classroom, educators have a greater opportunity to implement computer science lessons with practically every curriculum. This provides students with the knowledge and skills required to help follow job market trends when they graduate.
Technology in the classroom has revolutionized the way students learn, allowing students of all learning styles to connect and provide the chance to move at their own pace for a more individualized approach to learning. It also increases the quality and quantity of students’ thinking and writing. With more access to resources than ever before, students now have the world at their fingertips and can apply this advantage to enhance their educational experience.
Often times, educators are intimidated by computer science, thinking it is a more complex subject for younger learners; however, similar to all core subjects, students at pre-K and elementary levels can easily master computer science by learning incrementally. By helping students develop skills of inquiry, ideating, creating, modeling, testing, and analyzing in the early years, it becomes easier to integrate computer science into the classroom in later years.
Contrary to common belief, screen time does not breed isolation. Instead, computer science encourages various types of higher-level thinking. Coding is an aspect of computer science that supports computational learning and sequential learning, which benefit ones logic and philosophy skills, as well reading comprehension.
The computing and chronological sequencing alone in coding can greatly support the overall development of young learners and go on to assist in other subject matters throughout the course of their learning journey.
As one can see, the learning experience is evolving for students in order to keep up with an advanced and technology-centered society. Students are now expected to be both knowledgeable and comfortable with computers and various other communication systems.
This expectation is leading to more productivity and efficiency in the classroom which translates to a more advanced education. By integrating more innovation in instructional techniques and delivery systems through use of technologies in the classroom, educators are achieving results faster than ever.
Between establishing a voice across social media channels, a professional identity throughout online networks and maintaining an educational portfolio, computer science is teaching students to multitask on a completely new level.
Additionally, students are given access to online learning outside of the classroom today with the use of hotspots, which allow learners to stay connected at all times and provides teachers the flexibility to incorporate additional digital learning opportunities into their curriculums.
Strong communication skills are essential to success in almost every job today. And like every skill, communication must be practiced and refined.
Thankfully, the previously mentioned social media channels and online portals students are juggling not only improve efficiency, but they have played a major role in revolutionizing communication as a whole. Computer science has opened up the possibility of having everything available at your fingertips, making the world feel very small while allowing students to communicate at a moment’s notice.
Additionally, the increased avenues of communication encourage students to communicate their own personal ideas and solutions, which creates a larger discussion and better understanding of the foundational concepts those solutions were built on. This communication induced domino effect ends with the student gaining more confidence on their ability to tackle problems and overcome challenges. With more confidence comes greater results.
Abundance of Opportunities
In comparison to other fields of study, computer science skills are particularly more transferable across almost every industry. Coding, specifically, is considered to be one of the most invaluable job skills of the future as countless companies require it for its business infrastructure, software and online presence — making computer science professionals indispensable. In fact, employment of computer and information research scientists is projected to grow 19 percent from 2016 to 2026.
Computer science forces students to think critically and communicate in the digital world, while simultaneously giving them a competitive advantage in our ever-evolving technological world and help ensure future global stability and success.
Aimee Kroll is the computer science teacher at Decatur Central High School of MSD of Decatur Township, a nationally recognized school district that uses an innovative and personalized, small-learning community approach. Aimee believes educating young learners on the importance of computer science fundamentals will better prepare students for future career paths and opportunities. Visit: www.decaturproud.org.