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We Must Expand Afterschool Computer Science Education

67% of all new jobs in STEM are in computing and only 10% of STEM graduates are in computer science.

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This week is Computer Science Education Week, an annual effort to raise awareness and inspire interest in computer science education. 67% of all new jobs in STEM are in computing and only 10% of STEM graduates are in computer science.

The National Science and Technology Council, along with the Committee on STEM Education, the National Association for the Education of Young Children, and the Next Generation Science Standards concur the exposure to STEM during early childhood is critical to establishing an optimal educational trajectory.

 Afterschool programs are one way to address the growing need for computer science education. Quality afterschool learning opportunities function as an important part of the computer science learning ecosystem Kids only spend 20% of their time in school and 80% of their time out of school.

One such program is Kids in Tech, which focuses on providing high quality computer science and computer literacy programs in the afterschool/out of school time space to close the gap earlier and for kids to see tech as a viable career option through its afterschool tech club program.

 Kids in Tech partners with schools and youth serving agencies to provide hands-on learning projects in technology for children ages 8-14—anything from typing to coding to website design to computer engineering and much more. Hands-on, exploratory experiences are known to be effective ways to turn young people on to new interests, and these programs are an essential resource for including groups of kids who might not otherwise consider these fields

 Computer science education depends on a diversity of educational institutions including schools and non-school environments to support students. Out-of-school environments like Kids in Tech’ afterschool ‘tech clubs’ provides more time for students to hone their computer science skills and knowledge.  Having more quality afterschool and computer science programs are part of a thriving learning ecosystem for all.

By investing in afterschool programs to help further access to computer science educational opportunities for all kids, Kids in Tech uses afterschool programs to immerse students in computer science to assist the next generation to be fluent in computer science knowledge and skillset, and to take an immersion approach. Learners greatly benefit from hands on application to develop their computer science skills. Afterschool programs also allow this to happen because kids have more time to hone these skills.

More computer science afterschool programs also  help to create a greater infrastructure that helps to build networks and partnerships. Networks and partnerships can make a real difference in ensuring that learners have access to truly effective, high-quality computer science education programs. Supporting the state and city-level networks of programs and partnerships with computer science focused organizations is an effective way to expand coordinated opportunities for all kids.

By investing in afterschool computer science education programs, we can all ensure that all children, no matter where they live, can access high quality computer science educational opportunities. We need our generation of tech leaders to come from everywhere.

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