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IT Specialist Gives Tips on Making Computer Science Appealing

Making Computer Science Approachable and Accessible will Expand Student Interest

K-12 educators may not be keeping up with the demand for more IT skills and computer science knowledge. However, exposing students just a little more to coding and providing more background knowledge on how IT professionals make our lives efficient, vibrant and organized can help in the long run.

So says Alison Derbenwick Miller, vice president of Oracle Academy, an organization that aims to simplify IT for the general public. Miller recently wrote an article giving teachers tips on how to give K-12 students exposure to the computer science-related professions, skills and tasks, according to a recent TechCrunch article.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 202 there will be 1.4 million new computer science jobs, Miller said. Between professionals and university students, there will only be 400,000 trained computer scientists to fill these roles. 

"But, we see a dearth of computer science courses (of all types) available in secondary schools," Miller said to TechCrunch. "Today, only 10 percent of high schools offer computer science courses, and the number of introductory computer science courses has actually decreased by 17 percent since 2005, according to the College Board."

Computer science is "inherently challenging," she said, and, "it can be intimidating to many students who might be unable or unwilling to look beyond the mechanics of coding to the wonder of computer science's real-world application in nearly every facet of our lives and communities from mobile gaming apps to personalized medicine."

One of Miller's tips is to show students how computer science currently relates to their lives. The knowledge kids are craving might literally be in their hands.

"Help students understand the connection between computer science and their lives – how it helps them to register for classes at school, enables cell phones to function, and determines the ads they see online," Miller said. "Currently, there is a significant lack of diversity among students electing to take computer science courses, which is contributing to the skills gap by limiting the available talent pool."

Read the full story. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, EducationWorld Contributor

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