The Bureau of Labor and Statistics estimates that the most widely needed jobs in 10 years are in the healthcare industry and service industries; however, in the number 4 spot is Software Developer: over 1 million jobs will be available by 2026.
Software Developers only need a Bachelor’s degree, which will include a healthy dose of Computer Science courses along with coding ability.
Hour of Code is designed to benefit students in two ways: 1) to whet the appetites of students in hopes that they will gain a strong interest in Computer Science and 2) to introduce students to computational thinking.
The Virginia Department of Education is adopting a Computer Science curriculum for all K-12 students -- again the idea is to familiarize students with computational thinking and possibly pique the interests of budding computer scientists. Many of the logical and digital skills that students will be expected to master already fit into current math or English (yes, English!) SOLs in upper elementary and middle school. (Middle school standards also incorporate a 6-week module course.) At the high school level, computer science standards would fit into Computer Science or Computer Programming electives.
In honor of Computer Science Week, Colonial Heights Public Schools would like to highlight the teachers and classes helping our students learn how to code at the secondary level.
Theresa Fleming at Colonial Heights Middle School and Matthew Rierson at Colonial Heights High School have each implemented Computer Science classes after going to informative training sessions. This is the second year CHPS has offered the courses.
Students engaged in this course start with learning the basics of computing and move toward writing code using various computer languages. For example, students in Mr. Rierson’s course uses Mozilla Thimble to build a web page using HTML. By the end of the semester, students are programming robots.
CREATE Explore, an elective for gifted sixth graders incorporates a module using Scratch, a free block coding web application developed by MIT. Also, Amy Avery’s Computer Math class at Colonial Heights High School has also incorporated Scratch into its curriculum.
Learning to code allows students to create programs while also using math and problem-solving skills, providing valuable authentic experiences. Learning to work through stumbling blocks while building code to create an imaginative program shows the students that they have untapped skills and creativity. Like the dedicated computer science courses, these students will program Hummingbirds and Lego Mindstorms.
Computer Science and Computer Programming are engaging, thought-provoking, creative subjects that all students have an opportunity to experience. CHPS’s middle school and high school students are fortunate to have teachers who are willing to embark on a teaching and learning journey where students are exposed to such valuable educational experiences.