91% of parents want their child to learn more computer science in the future. – Google Gallup Poll
Since childhood, my mother and father had encouraged me to get into engineering or medicine. My high school experiences of dissecting frogs had made it clear that I was not meant for life sciences. Though I didn’t know much about engineering, I decided to explore the shining light of this promising career. Soon I discovered that engineering was not just one thing, there were many kinds of engineering …there was electronics, electrical, computer science, mechanical, and so much more. Computer Science sounded interesting … the problem was – I had never seen a computer let alone receiving any early experiences with computers. This was not the time of Google or any internet search for that matter. Research meant finding and talking with people or sifting through thick books in the library. My mother and father did not have science or engineering background, so they couldn’t help me directly. But, they kept finding people who knew something and who were willing to speak with me. One of those contacts was a lady who worked in an office that had recently bought a computer. She had seen the computer and seen the people who worked with it. Her advice changed my world:
“Computers need air conditioning and people who work with computers work in AC offices. This seems like a woman-friendly work environment.”
For a soon-to-be woman in engineering in the hot climate of Delhi with no AC anywhere she lived or studied, this sounded like a good start. Computer Science engineering it was for me!
Soon after, I started to really understand the significance and the impact that computing could make in the world. As a computer science graduate, my skills were in great demand. I started my career working on cutting edge technologies with a multi-national firm. I was creating, I was innovating and I was impacting people all around the world.
Fast forward to today; computing is even more pervasive, computing jobs still on the rise and high paying. But, where are the graduates?
71% of all new jobs in STEM are in computing. 8% of STEM graduates are in Computer Science. – Bureau of Labor Statistic, National Center for Education Statistics
Computer Science graduates can earn 40% more than a college graduate and almost 3 times more than a high school graduate. – Brookings Institute
Our children are savvy computer users. What it, they progressed beyond being merely computer users? What if, they could understand the creative powers of their devices? What if, they could learn of ways to express their creativity using their devices? What if, they could create something using the computer?
Majority of the jobs today require some computing irrespective of the industry. Computer Science is a foundation skill. Parents and academia agree:
More than 4 in 5 parents and more than 6 in 10 teachers, principals and superintendents say computer science learning opportunities are equal or more important than required courses.
–Google Gallop Poll
At STEM For Kids, we engage children in pre-K, elementary and middle schools with engineering, computing and automation. Specifically, our computer science related programs provide a Computer Science Roadmap offering a hands-on minds-on progression from user to innovator through the following milestones:
Computer Science Literate
Along this roadmap, not only do the children learn about problem solving, algorithmic thinking and programming but also acquire and sharpen their 4C skills of Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking and Creativity. Experiences and examples like these abound:
While learning computer programming, a child expresses her creativity as a game with characters and landscapes as unique as she is. There are polka dots on her buildings and flowers on the street where her equally appealing character goes on a mission to drive villains out of her imagined and created digital world.
While learning about website designing, a young lady puts imagination of her future store into words and pictures as she designed the digital web pages for her store. An artist in making or perhaps an entrepreneur?
A group of children collaborate to make robotic animals leading up to their own petting zoo!
Tell us your thoughts about computer science for children.
By: Moni Singh, Founder and CEO, STEM for Kids. STEM for Kids® provides educational enrichment in Robotics, Engineering and Computer Programming for children ages 4 – 14 through camps, afterschool programs, in-school field trips, workshops in schools and outside community spaces. National and international franchise opportunities are available for single and multi-units. Entrepreneurs with a passion to impact their community through education can learn more and apply at the STEM For Kids website, www.stemforkids.net/franchise.