Sarah Ford | October 10, 2013

A Teach for America Alumni Explains Why Our Future Depends On Putting Tech Education At The Core

“Does this class count as an Advanced Placement course?”

It’s been a common question of my returning IT Academy students. My courses are demanding. I expect them to read and write daily, to meet online after school for concept and skills reviews, and to practice using skills that will help them in college and career. They view my Cisco Networking Academy and computer science courses as college-level, and want others to view them that way too (in addition to the grade inflation that accompanies AP courses). Unfortunately, the courses that I teach aren’t a part of the core curriculum. Instead, they’re seen by many as electives and therefore expendable.

They shouldn’t be.

My classes offer too much opportunity for academic and professional growth to be viewed that way. The things we explore together are far too interesting, too important. In one class, we’re learning how data moves from device to device, and how to build our own networks. In another, we’re building Web apps while learning how to obtain feedback from users and analyze data. There is never a dull moment. Students are constantly engaged by the meaningful, hands-on experiences that my classroom provides. Why wouldn’t they be? They know that what we learn matters, because my courses mimic the same online, tech-enabled world that they grew up in. What we do is immediately relevant to them.

There is no reason for computer science or system engineering courses to be ranked as “non-essential” in favor of more traditional English, math, and science courses that so often teach knowledge and skills out of context. Especially when the very same knowledge and skills can be taught — when they ARE taught — in technology classrooms like mine. It’s time to start thinking about how we can change the core of our education system to meet the demands of a rapidly evolving, tech-savvy world. It’s time to move computing education classes to the core. And it’s time to save our students from the same class schedules that bored us to death.

This is important. If we don’t make technology education a priority, we will face a crisis of epic proportions. It is estimated that by 2020..

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Source: Huffington Post

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