DISD Keeps Innovation at Forefront With Computer Science Instruction for Every Elementary Student

In a high-tech world that becomes more techy by the day, it's easy for those of us of a certain age to feel left behind. Now imagine what it's like to bear the responsibility of preparing kids to compete in this world — or what this world will look like in another decade. What does literacy even look like in a world of artificial intelligence and wearable tech devices? So we are encouraged to see the Dallas school district meet this challenge head-on. DISD is integrating computer science instruction and extra-curricular activities into all 151 of its elementary schools — one of the largest rollouts of computer science instruction in the nation.Kids are getting jump-start, with computer science concepts being introduced as early as kindergarten. While children that young will not be coding, they will become more familiar with related vocabulary and concepts."Awareness is where we start with the young kids. It's a latent need that we haven't really tapped," DISD superintendent Michael Hinojosa said in an editorial board meeting Tuesday. "So in the younger grades, they get excited about it. Then we start doing the technical stuff in the middle grades — and then it just carries all the way through."The hope is that the early instruction fosters enthusiasm that will continue through middle school, high school — preparing for real options in the job market. Computer-science-related jobs are plentiful and pay well. Search online for "web developer" jobs in the Dallas area right now, for example, and you'll find over 1,200 full-time openings with salaries ranging from $75,000 to over $100,000. Exposing DISD students to more computer science could lay the foundation to bring some much-needed diversity to the field, as well. Census numbers show that women, who make up 47 percent of America's workforce, hold only 27 percent of the computing jobs. African-Americans hold only 7 percent of the jobs, and Hispanics, 6 percent.   Continue reading...

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