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The Future Is Now: Bookshare and CSEdWeek Prepare Students for 21st Century Careers

“Computers are going to be a big part of our future…and that future is yours to shape.” President Obama

Graphic showing the one million increase in computing jobs between 2015 and 2022Technology is all around us and an integral part of our everyday lives. And we know that whatever field students choose to go into as adults, their ability to succeed will increasingly hinge on understanding how technology works. In fact, employment in all information technology occupations is expected to increase by twenty-two percent through 2020. But only a fraction of students today are learning computer science and even fewer students are studying it than a decade ago.

Closing the Gap

Book cover for Python for KidsComputer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek) is an annual program dedicated to inspiring K-12 students to take interest in computer science. It was founded in 2009 by as a call to action about the need to elevate computer science education at all levels and to underscore the critical role of computing in all careers. From December 7-13, CSEdWeek offers resources, learning activities, and tutorials to help kick start students’ interest in computer science.

What Students Can Do

Scratch. Python. Java. Visual Basic. C++. C#. Ruby. Perl. HTML. JavaScript. PHP. SQL. XML. Do you want to know what these programming languages are all about? Start by joining the largest learning event in history: The Hour of Code. More than 100 million students worldwide have already tried an Hour of Code by exploring online tutorials for all grade levels and abilities by Codecademy, CodeHS, LightBot, CodeSpark, Thinkersmith, Tynker, Codable, Google Education, and many more.

Bookshare can help too. It has over 11,000 books and resources on computers and the Internet including Book cover for Starting Out with Javatitles like these:

What Teachers Can Do

Research shows that kids pick up programming concepts before they know how to read and write. In fact, their brains are more receptive to computer languages at a young age, just like foreign languages. Even if you aren’t experienced in computer science, you can introduce students to basic concepts and encourage them to give programming a try. These resources will help you get started:

  • Check out Bookshare’s resources for teachers such as: Guide to Teaching Computer ScienceBook cover for Guide to Teaching Computer Science
  • Check out CSEdWeek’s computer science resources
  • Bring an Hour of Code to your classroom
  • Bring computer science classes to your school or district
  • Host a computer science tech jam
  • Encourage students to give introductory programming a try

Regardless of what career path students ultimately choose, whether they go into medicine, business, politics, or the arts, knowing how to build technology will give them the confidence and skills to navigate today’s tech-saturated world. The future is already here.

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