Schools around the country are turning their focus toward a growing interest in the computer science field, which has been predicted to be the fastest-growing industry in the country by the US Bureau of Statistics.
Zach Goldberg, a spokesman for the College Board, said the program has increased by around 25% since 2013 nationwide. The newest course in the program, which College Board hopes will further increase student interest, especially among girls and minorities who have been historically underrepresented in the area, was introduced last December.
Schools across the country are noticing this interest increase, as they see the Hour of Code movement turn into a week or month of coding, or even an entire course. They report their students saying “I don’t want to watch a movie. Can I code instead?” or asking, “Can we do this every week?”
The Los Angeles Unified School District recently partnered with non-profit Code.org in an effort to provide experience with computer science to students of all ages, from kindergarten through the 12th grade. The effort is the first complete K-12 partnership within California for Code.org, who hope to increase interest in the subject among women and minorities.
According to former Los Angeles Superintendent John E. Deasy, the effort will allow students to increase their knowledge in the field, thus enhancing learning, regardless of whether they carry that interest through to the workplace.
“It is absolutely critical that we equip students with an education that prepares them for life,” Deasy said. “Teaching students how to code enhances their relevant skills, no matter what academic or career path they eventually choose. Coding is, by any measure in a digital-age economy, an essential skill, and is something that all students should have the opportunity to learn.”
In New York City, a four-year grant received by the Department of Education will allow the creation of an Advanced Placement course called “Beauty and Joy of Computing” for high schoolers interested in the world of computing. Developed at the University of California, Berkeley, the program was created especially for students who are not computer science majors. Teacher training for the course is set to begin in the next few months, and the course will be offered to about 30 classes of students this fall. As more teachers receive training for the course more classes will begin to be offered, with a special focus on girls and minorities, writes Ben Chapman for The Daily News.
The AP course is already in use at 102 high schools across Illinois, including four high schools around Crystal Lake that have all offered the course since the 1999-2000 school year. The district also offers an Introduction to Computer Science course, as well as Project Lead the Way, which serves as an introduction to STEM subjects.