This is a special blog posting by Julie Evans, CEO of Project Tomorrow, to share some selected , preliminary data findings from Speak Up 2014 (data collected from October 6 – November 24 from 201,297 middle and high school students nationwide). The final data results will be published in a series of national reports in spring 2015.
Supporting the Hour of Code: Students’ Interest in Learning Computer Programming
From Minecraft fairs at schools to girl coding parties after school, schools and communities are encouraging today’s students to embrace coding or computer programming as a new essential literacy. The momentum behind the efforts of our colleague, Code.org, to develop greater student (and parent/teacher) interest in coding has been exciting to watch develop. In honor of this week’s Hour of Code events, we are pleased to share with the nation a preliminary set of Speak Up data on student interest in coding to provide additional context for the week’s activities.
While less than 10 percent of students in grades 6-12 are currently involved in programs or classes that are teaching computer programming, students have a high interest in learning more about this new literacy. Amongst high school students, 45 percent say they are interested in learning how to code; 17 percent are very interested. For students in grades 6-8, over half of those students (53 percent) expressed an interest in learning programming with one-quarter of those students identifying as very interested. Given that high demand, schools may be concerned about how to address students’ interests with current teachers or electives. Interestingly, 27 percent of high school students and 38 percent of middle school students would like to take an online computer programming class.
While the level of middle and high school student interest in coding is impressive, especially in light of the Hour of Code momentum, the real growth market appears to be upper elementary students. When we asked students in grades 3-5 if they are interested in learning more about coding and programming, 66 percent said yes! So, while many traditionally think about programming as a high school elective class or afterschool club, we may want to think about new ways to engage our elementary students in coding activities – especially since their interest is so high right now. As we know from our research on other STEM activities, engaging and supporting student interest in the elementary grades is critical for sustaining that interest in the later grades.
Want to learn more about the coding interests of your students as well as the perceptions of teachers and parents on this hot topic? Every school and district that participates in Speak Up and promotes the surveys to their K-12 students, teachers and parents, receives a free report with both local and national data findings. Speak Up 2014 surveys are open for input until December 19. Local reports will be available February 5. Here is your link to the surveys: http://www.speakup4schools.org/speakup2014/
Happy Around the Web Wednesday: Coding Edition! This week’s articles focus on coding in honor of the Hour of Code (learn more about it here). Browse all the links below for the latest news and topics trending in education and coding. Be sure to let us know which article intrigued you the most!
Be sure to check back each week for our Around the Web Wednesday series. Have a great day!
– The Project Tomorrow Team
When we think of coding we tend to associate the word with Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg. After all, the software industry is generally dominated by men and the most well-known social entrepreneurs are male.
Breaking down stereotypes about coding and the software industry, Lyndsey Scott is just the opposite of that. Dubbed by her family as a mix between Giselle Bundchen and Bill Gates, she entered Amherst as a theater major and picked up Computer Science as a second major. Although her interest in software began at a young age when she programmed her TI-89 calculator with games of her own creation, she only began modelling after college and has now modeled for Victoria’s Secret, Gucci, and Prada. Despite her success on the runway, Lyndsey still finds time to code and has developed several apps for Apple, including an iPad app that serves as a digital portfolio for models and an app called Educate!, which helps students in Uganda find sponsors.
Given her two very different careers, Lyndsey is aware of the struggles that come with being a female coder. “[The fashion industry] wouldn’t talk about my education,” she said. Because of her experience in both the software programming industry and fashion industry, Lyndsey is an advocate for girls getting into coding and computers, and has spoken about Code.org’s Hour of Code, a campaign designed to recruit students to try computer science for at least one hour; she pointed out that of the 20 million students who were given the opportunity to try programming, most participants were female. Lyndsey believes that more girls will become interested in programming and technology as long as they are given the opportunity to do so.
To read the full article for “What It’s Like To Be A Victoria’s Secret Model Who Codes In Her Free Time” by Business Insider, click here. Also check out http://code.org/ to learn more about the organization and the Hour of Code. What do you think about the future of female coders? Did your child(ren)/students participate in the Hour of Code? Let us know in the comments section!