Friday, March 10, 2017

Computer Science, STEM, and Coding in Elementary Schools in HCPS!

 We had a great work session with our School Board last night.  Students from G. W. Carver joined the meeting to teach the School Board about computer science and coding skills that they are learning in their school.  In HCPS, we are working hard to expose our students to computer science and coding.  In fact, we utilized grant funding to hire a STEM Coordinator who works with all of our elementary students throughout the school year.  This is all a part of our focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).  We find that computer science helps our students with problem-solving, mathematical thinking, and agency.  All of these skills are important for their future success.  We are also hopeful that many of our students will consider a future career in technology and computer science.  As I walked around to the different stations last night, several of the students commented that they want to major in computer science when they grow up.  As many of us have heard, jobs are increasing in the STEM fields over the next several years.  In addition, there are currently several STEM jobs open and businesses are having difficulty finding qualified candidates to fill these positions.  We even have many of these jobs in our community!  We are going to continue our focus on STEM and computer science at all levels in HCPS.  We offer electives in robotics and coding in the middle school.  In addition, we have partnered with PHCC to offer a computer science, cyber security program at the high school level.  We are working to encourage more students to take advantage of these great opportunities in HCPS!

I've included additional information below that reinforces the importance of computer science, programming, and coding in our schools (excerpt  from P. Meade Presentation to the School Board, March 9, 2017).

Why should students have the opportunity to learn programming?

  • Creativity- Computer Science is an incubator for innovation and inspiration. Students are encouraged to think beyond their normal parameters and ask themselves, “What if?”
  • Collaboration- Not all work should be done alone. The best technology comes from a series of diverse viewpoints.  We have to use the flow of “give and take” when working with others to bring out the best in everyone.  
  • Communication- Students must be able to express their ideas, understand the requirements being presented to them, and estimate how much  work it will take to complete a job.
  • Critical Thinking- When a student masters problem solving, they master life!
  • Persistence- Never give up! No seriously, don’t do it! A challenge is an opportunity for us to show how dedicated we are to finding a solution.
  • Growth Mindset- Children are taught that a “fail” is a First Attempt In Learning- Answers are not always found on the first try so sometimes we must learn from our mistakes and grow from them.

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