“I can barely fix a printer. If there is a non-tech way to do something, I will find it,” says Shanti Crawford, a teacher at P.S. 34 Oliver H. Perry elementary school in Brooklyn, NY. Crawford may have never considered herself to be a "tech person," but she recognized the value of code and discovered how a supportive community could empower her and her students to learn. Now, she’s referred to as LEGO Lady at P.S. 34, where she teaches science, LEGO engineering, and robotics.
Crawford is not alone in having had initial reservations about computer science. New Jersey teacher Julie Andrew-Lamon found that delving into the world of CS for kids was daunting at first. But just like Crawford, she knew how crucial computer science and programming literacy was for her students at Woodland Middle School. Andrew-Lamon faced her fears and brought Hour of Code to her classroom.
Educators across the globe are increasingly familiar with the staggering statistics: Between 2010 and 2020, STEM jobs growth will outpace all other jobs at 18.7%, leading to an estimated 1.1 million computing jobs by 2024.
In addition to the number of people needed to propel our world forward through computing, we face another challenge. While women hold 57% of professional occupations, they represent only 25% of the computing workforce; of that 25%, only 9% are women of color. Research has proven that a diversity of information leads to better ideas, so it seems intuitive that we prioritize diversity in technology. Companies like Intel and Apple have launched diversity initiatives, but we have much work to do. And it starts in the classroom.
Even if educators recognize the importance of teaching computer science and programming for their students, they often face their own internal roadblocks. We've highlighted some of the most common ones, as well as tips to get past them.