An international education event, Hour of Code started three years ago with a big idea: get 10 million students to try computer coding.
Coding and computer literacy will be an ever more significant part of the economy and promising career opportunities for young elementary students who are just beginning to pursue their education and build their futures.
The students in my classroom, who come from a variety of ethnic backgrounds—many of them girls—don’t look like the field of computer science, as it stands today. That’s why it’s so important they receive early access to computer science.
Technological literacy is key to our students’ future success, but students of color and women are vastly underrepresented in STEM fields.
According to the National Science Foundation, only 18 percent of computer science degrees are awarded to students of color. Recent numbers show that women make up only 26 percent of the industry, which is rapidly growing and offers important career opportunities for our young students. I see an opportunity gap that we can help eliminate, starting right in elementary school.
With the rate technology is growing in our society, a computer science education will no doubt have a massive impact on our Rocketeers’ bright futures. We’ve banded together as a network and partnered with Code.org, along with tens of millions of students in 180-plus countries around the world.
The Hour of Code is explicitly designed to demystify code and show that anyone can learn about the field.
Through this program, our students have learned the basics of coding and even indulged in some of their favorite games and movies, such as Minecraft and Frozen. We want to spark their curiosity and creativity through fun, interactive lessons.
With this early introduction to coding, young Rocketeers can nurture their problem-solving and logic skills and express their creativity. Our students will become the future of fields like medicine, engineering, law and education.
A solid STEM foundation will help them continue on a college-bound path and open up doors to careers in the sciences. At Rocketship, we hope to give our students a boost early in their education to be confident learners for the rest of their lives.
It’s imperative that we provide young students with opportunities and access to computer science and STEM. These skills will help make them successful in tomorrow’s tech-centric society and economy.
LaToya Fernandez teaches fourth grade at Rocketship Discovery Prep. She wrote this article for San Jose Inside.