Examining the Importance of Computer Science in our Schools

[music] SIMON HESS: It is absolutely critical that
we get more computer science into our school and that all schools are participating in
the Hour of Code. [music] HARISH KAMATH: I think it’s really important
to get computer science into schools as early as possible. When I was a kid, something simple like making
phone call relied on a touch tone telephone and didn’t involve a lot of computer science. But today everything from making a phone call
to hailing a cab is being done by software. Software is literally eating up the world. CRAIG MARTIN: I believe that it is important
to have additional computer science and events like Hour of Code in our schools because our
children are–are digital natives here. So we want to make sure that our children
are fully equipped to handle the demands of the new 21st century world. So we know the workforce is going to entail
kids being hands-on and engaged in technology all the time. It’s really important that we actually start
from the base and the foundation and that starts here in schools. BHUSHAN VARTAK: I absolutely think that students
should get exposed to it earlier and earlier these days, especially given we really do
not know where technology is going in the next 20-30 years. And computational thinking is not just about
being able to use the computer. It’s really about designing–it’s about
logical reasoning. It’s about critical thinking and problem
solving skills and these are going to be absolutely essential in the economies of tomorrow. SIMON HESS: When you think about the world
that are students are going to be inheriting when they leave high school–many of them
are going to be entering into professions where technology is a basic literacy. And things like computer science, things like
coding are really the best way to prepare our students for those careers, for those
occupations. KAREN MCCARTHY: I want our students to be
deeply engaged in their work in a way that feels relevant to them and can prepare them
to make an impact in the world. JANA SUNKLE: Some specific examples where
students get to apply their understanding of mathematics in classrooms of computer science
are in Scratch, so students really get to really work on using variables, thinking about
logic, and then also thinking about coordinate grids. HARISH KAMATH: E55 is a software company,
most of the people we look at, are talent we try to recruit, are computer science professionals. We end up using a lot of image processing,
so a lot of coding in C++, in Java, we use a lot of database–like for storage, so database
administrators or people who can work with cloud computing are very important in my profession. TONY KING: I think our school community has
recognized the importance of having computer science and coding and computer-related fields
as part of what our students are doing in our school because we know it’s going to
be a part of what they are going to be doing in the future. We’ve recognized the changing workforce,
the kinds of skills that kids are going to be required to have as they move forward and
we are beginning to wrap our minds around what it’s going to take to prepare them
for the future that’s waiting for them. CRAIG MARTIN: Oh my–to have a computer science
program in our school–it’s going to our–take learning to the next level. It’d be great that we actually have more
technology in our classrooms, in our schools, to have technology teachers who are actually
hands-on and engaged with our kids, showing them how to develop code– SIMON HESS: So I think you need educators,
you need students, you need families, you need community partners who really have a
sense of the world that we are preparing our students to go out and go to college in, and
to go out and work in. You need educators who understand the opportunity
for integration within their content areas for technology. You need schools that are ready to train and
prepare people to be computer science teachers. HARISH KAMATH: I think there are two aspects
of this to changing the attitudes of people in STEM education. One is on the regulation or the people who
set the policy and on the other side is the students. On the push side, when regulators set policy
they have to be incentivized and encouraged to understand why computer science is important. Having people like me from the industry or
in general the industry telling, demanding this from schools, saying that if you don’t
have basic computer science education, you’re not going to get a job should incentivize
regulators on the push side to get computer science in the schools. But that’s not the end of the story. Students and parents should be equally incentivized
to understand why computer science is important at a very young age and they should be on
their side pushing regulators to incorporate this into schools. MARK RACINE: This year, we’d like every
student to participate in the Hour of Code here in Boston Public Schools and we need
your help to make this a reality. Through the month of November, we will be
hosting professional development sessions for teachers at all grade levels to learn
how to integrate computer science into their classroom, and we hope every school will sign
up to participate in this year’s Hour of Code. Thank you. The students of Boston Public Schools need
everyone’s help in preparing them for the jobs of tomorrow. Join BPS in doing the Hour of Code this December
and help get computer science into our schools. [music]

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