Why is computer science important? According to CSEdWeek's website, the current number of students studying computer science will only fill 52 percent of the projected 1.4 million new computing jobs by 2018. Contributions in computer science shape other aspects of the economy, and are necessary to drive technological innovation. Studying computer science at any age helps kids build critical skills like creative and critical thinking, problem solving, and computer literacy in a digital age. And yet computer science programs are often overlooked and underfunded, leading to insufficient curricula, a lack of teacher training in computer science, and decreased gender and ethnic diversity in computer science programs and careers.
The CSEdWeek website has lots of resources to help advocates build a case for computer science education in and out of school time, including key facts, career guides, and activities for your classroom or program. They have also compiled a guide to events happening across the country promoting computer science. Plus, they're asking advocates to share their thoughts on Twitter (hashtag #CSEdWeek), Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn.
Members of the Coalition for Science After School are working hard to promote computer science in out-of-school time in their communities. Here are just a few:
- The Department of Computer Science at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana
- The College of Engineering and Computer Science at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio
- Computers for Children, Inc., in Buffalo, New York
- Computer Explorers in Tampa, Florida
- Bits, Bytes, & Bots Computer Adventures, a national program with opportunities for learning about robotics, game creation and other computer-based technology skills
- Computer Summer Science Camp at the University of Cincinnati, where high-schoolers learn to write programs in a real computer science lab
- Girl TECH CORPS from TECH CORPS Ohio, a program that brings together girls interested in technology and mentors to learn age-appropriate technological skills