For years, technology companies everywhere have argued they can’t make their workforces more diverse unless the nation’s school systems interest more students in computer science and related technology fields. Whether or not you believe that explanation, a new survey by CompTIA suggests that educators across the U.S. want to do more to encourage students’ technology and digital literacy.
“Upgrading classroom technology and learning tools (cited by 65 percent of survey respondents), curriculum updates (58 percent) and developing post-graduation pathways for students (52 percent) are some of the steps that education professionals would like to take in response to growing student interest in digital literacy and technology,” reads the CompTIA report accompanying the survey, which reached 1,511 teachers, administrator, and other education professionals at middle and high schools across the U.S.
What will it actually take to prepare classrooms to better teach technology and digital literacy? Some 61 percent of survey respondents said that “hands on” learning tools such as labs and simulations were essential, while 52 percent said teachers needed better support materials and training. Another 52 percent said “relevant materials that resonate with students,” while 34 percent said resources connected to “employability skills.”
Some 68 percent of respondents said their schools’ current technology and digital literacy programs met expectations, while just over half (56 percent) said that these programs are a requirement for students at some point between 7th and 12th grade. “Common class offerings include an introduction to computers and technology (61 percent of all schools surveyed), computer science (54 percent), introduction to digital skills and literacy (45 percent) and programming, coding and software development (41 percent),” the report added.
For those interested in computer science, but whose schools might not offer the right resources and classes, there are also lots of opportunities online to learn on your own. For example, online learning portals such as Coursera and Udemy offer mobile apps with access to many different tech-education pathways. Amazon, Microsoft, and other large companies also offer online learning opportunities in their respective technologies. Self-learning can be an effective way to upgrade your skill-set, even if you’re not getting what you need in the classroom.