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High School Students Are All About Computers but Get Little Instruction in Computer Science


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High school seniors taking part in a computer science "camp."

The disparity between U.S. high school students' exposure to computer science and their use of computers and technology may be leading to a dearth of qualified technology professionals.

Credit: Katherine Frey/The Washington Post

There is a significant gap between U.S. high school students' exposure to computer science and their use of computers and technology, and this gap is leading to a dearth of qualified professionals in technology and other fields.

"People are realizing these are the skill sets that are going to lead to 21st-century jobs," says Microsoft executive Dan Kasun. Factors in the lack of computer science study in many schools include a shortfall of computer science teachers and students' perception of the subject as dull or intimidating.

Some Washington, D.C.-area school districts are taking the initiative to address this disparity by urging more students, especially girls and minorities, to enroll in computer science courses. "We really believe the skills they will get from coding will help them in whatever career they choose," says Charles County superintendent Kimberly Hill.

Meanwhile, Montgomery County, MD, school leaders have signed on with Code.org to make courses more engaging by focusing on topics outside of programming, such as human-computer interaction and the Internet.

Smaller efforts to nurture students' interest include Falls Church High School's Robotics Club and Girls in Technology Club.

From The Washington Post
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