Iowa’s AEAs, local schools partner to make Iowa 8th in the nation for computer science education
A new national report shows that Iowa is one of the top 10 states for computer science education. Central Rivers Area Education Agency (AEA) has been working very closely with local school districts to help them meet the new state requirements to make this achievement possible. State law required districts to offer a computer science course at the high school level last year (2022) and computer science instruction at the elementary and middle schools levels this year (2023).
Central Rivers AEA has been working with local educators to create their required district computer science plan, provide them with professional development and coaching, as well as provide assistance with understanding the standards, available curriculum, best instructional practices, and tools and resources that can be used in the classroom. As teachers work to better prepare themselves to teach computer science at all grade levels, Central Rivers AEA has also partnered with the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) to provide teachers with free classes for the Computer Science Teaching Endorsement.
Why is this so important? Simply put, computers are everywhere. In the last five years, the number of devices, the access to high-speed internet and the reach of computer science has grown at a staggering rate. It is virtually in every aspect of our lives from our cars and kitchen appliances to the advertising we see on social media and the internet. The release of ChatGPT and other Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools have also continued to increase our use of computer science.
As we struggle to adapt to how technology is impacting our lives, so is the industry. According to the 2023 State of Computer Science Education Report from Code.org and other organizations, there has been an average of 4,641 open computing jobs each month. These jobs have an average salary of $91,730/year.
But learning computer science is more than just programming computers. Consider the following:
Computer science is learning about how computers are assembled and how they function and how networks and the internet operate to send our information.
It also studies the past, present and future impact of computers and technology in our society.
Computer science is learning about how to structure, work with and understand data, which is especially important as our use of AI grows.
Next time you see your students, ask them what kind of computer science they learned today and get a glimpse into their future.
Michelle Meier is a computer science, media & instructional technology consultant with Central Rivers Area Education Agency (CRAEA), based in Cedar Falls. She can be reached at email@example.com. Learn more about Central Rivers Area Education Agency at www.centralriversaea.org.