Monday, December 21, 2009

Fewer high school students taking computer science classes

Washington Post Article

It would be hard to find a student at Stone Bridge High School who has never used the Internet for a research assignment, socialized with Facebook or played a video game.

But few know much about how computers and the Web actually work.

Like most Teenagers, they are rabid “Consumers” of the available technologies, Blackberry, iTouch, wireless internet, Social Media such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, XBox, etc. my own teenagers alike. 

Despite my long career in Technology and my passion / expertise in Infrastructure and core technology, my own kids have evolved into hugeStudents consumers of the gadgets that they have acquired (“acquired” = Dad buys, Kids consume, of course you knew that)

Nationally, the portion of schools that offer an introductory computer science course has dropped from 78 percent in 2005 to 65 percent this year, and the corresponding decline in AP courses went from 40 to 27 percent, according to a survey by the Computer Science Teachers Association.

As the Washington Post article points out, teenagers are increasingly only interested in consuming the technology.  Is this because core technology science has become commoditized?  Are our students numb to the excitement of what makes technology tick?

While it is true that funding for core Computing Science classes has been in decline and many school systems do not consider Computer Science as a core discipline.

Computer science is not considered a core subject by the No Child Left Behind law, which influences school priorities and budgets.

Despite all this, so much technology innovation still continues to dominate here in the US.  There may not be a direct correlation between total Computer Science credits taken and students maturing into technology professionals or even geeks.  I for one, have 25+ years as a Technology Professional, despite the fact that I was a Pre-Law Major.  A point that is still perplexing my mother (Why didn’t he become a lawyer? - A topic for a future Blog Post).  My older brother, was a Computer Science Major, but went on to Medical School to become a surgeon.  (This does not perplex my mother, BTW)

While it would make us all feel better that our precious youth is investing a part of their efforts in Technology, it may not be a clarion call.  We will need to see how this pans out.

Si fractum non sit, noli id reficere

(If it ain't broke, don't fix it)


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