High School Computer Science - Part 1

Albert Einstein once said, “Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think.” This fundamental idea should be at the heart of every high school curriculum. Unfortunately, schools are more concerned with test performance than student growth. Due to this intense focus on test preparation, many high schools overlook computer science and omit it from the curriculum. A high school computer science implementation will not only give students the technical skills they need to enter the job market today, but it will also provide students a new level of academic rigor that will help prepare them for challenging college courses.

Computer science is an important subject because it requires logical reasoning and creativity, which are skills that all successful college students need to have. Computer scientists have the rare ability to turn an idea into reality. Designing a computer program is a multistep process that requires the programmer to express solutions to several smaller problems in ways that a computer can understand and interpret. It’s necessary to understand the underlying concepts that drive a computer, because something as small as a misplaced parenthesis can be detrimental to the overall function of a program. Mastering this process requires thinking at multiple levels of abstraction, and it often involves exploring new [to you] and creative solutions. After all, students who ask questions because they are genuinely interested in the solution to a problem are much more likely to retain the information than students who are simply shown the answer. These active learners are much more prepared for the rigors of college than the passive learners, but high schools continue to produce passive, task-oriented students with no motivation to learn.

New technology is the key to sustained economic growth, and our country depends on these innovators to develop this new technology. Some of the greatest minds of the 21st century all learned to program a computer before college. Take Mark Zuckerberg, for example, or Steve Jobs, or Bill Gates – these people completely transformed the way we live our lives, and they owe a lot of their success to computer science.

Computer science is a great class because it induces critical thinking and builds problem solving skills, but it also has many practical applications. Computer science is class that everybody should take because it provides students with the tools they need to succeed whether they join the work force or go on to college. With an economy that relies so much on technology, advanced computer literacy is becoming increasingly important. Additionally, the problem solving and critical thinking skills developed in a computer science course apply to many jobs outside of the engineering discipline. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, high school graduates have a much harder time in the work force than college graduates. By giving high school students the chance to take practical classes that induce critical thinking, students will be more prepared to join the workforce after graduation. Further, since computer literacy is becoming increasingly important in today’s job market, students who take computer related classes in high school have a distinct advantage over other qualified candidates.

In the next post, High School Computer Science - Part 2, I will talk about organizations that are actively working to bring Computer Science to middle schools and high schools nation wide.

Related Links:

Obama Asks America to Learn Computer Science

Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, will.i.am, and Chris Bosh talk Computer Science


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