In order to get future generations excited about working in STEM fields, it is important to begin introducing and integrating the concepts of what sorts of jobs will be available to them in a fun way early on. The concept of a ‘good job’ can seem esoteric to young learners who aren’t necessarily concerned about a 401(k) or if they’ll be able to retire early, so it is vital to introduce these career options in an entertaining and engaging way.
One of the best ways to introduce the concept of engineering to students is by teaching them about robotics. Robots are not only fun to design, build, and program for younger students, they also lay the foundational skills for a career in engineering down the line by folding in concepts of biomimicry, mechanization, and electrical engineering. When programs like CoderZ help students understand the basics of engineering, it can inspire them to think creatively about how to apply engineering to any number of situations in order to make improvements or advancements.
It is important that younger generations develop a love and excitement for engineering early on as the demand for mechanical engineers increases in the coming years. Motor vehicles that capitalize on alternative energy and the burgeoning field of nanotechnology will both continue to increase the need for competent and driven engineers going forward, and it is imperative that future generations are set up for success.
While the private sector has already taken it upon themselves to try and close the gap in technological skills for future generations, it is also important to introduce the concept of programming through more traditional educational settings as well. Instilling a passion for programming through the integration of robotics and coding in the classroom doesn’t just set kids up for success if they choose to pursue programming as a career in the future, but also teaches them integral life skills like critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, and communication which can help them in any field, STEM or otherwise.
Before they embark on their careers, they can even use their skills in competitions like hackathons. CoderZ sponsors the Cyber Robotics Coding Competition, an online robotics tournament. The 8+ week program teaches students in classrooms around the country how to code via a 3D simulation.
Computer scientists are important in a huge number of industries from robotics, manufacturing, and software engineering to healthcare and government, so getting kids interested and preparing themselves with a fundamental knowledge of what computer science is all about can help them succeed. The CoderZ robotics and coding programs are fantastic ways to get students engaged in the basic elements of computer science and can give them an edge later on in life if they choose to pursue a career in computer science.
The best thing about getting younger students excited about computer science is that it is a field that, if someone pursuing it is driven enough, doesn’t necessarily require a college degree in order to become successful. There is a bevy of options to engage in self-teaching when it comes to computer science or any number of STEM fields and if someone is considering entering one of these fields professionally, CoderZ can help them make that dream a reality.
At the end of the day, ensuring that future generations are well-equipped to enter STEM fields, whether it be engineering, programming, computer science or any number of other professions, is incredibly important. Robotics and coding courses, games that introduce programming languages, and even making sure students know that they can pursue STEM outside of an academic setting are all great ways to introduce younger students to career paths within the STEM world.
Jori Hamilton is a writer and journalist from the Pacific Northwest who covers social justice issues, education, and politics. You can follow her work on twitter @HamiltonJori, through her portfolio or through LinkedIn.
A provider of STEM-robotics equipment and training for young women and teachers in underserved communities around the globe, the Community Bots is the brainchild of Jack Cooley, a science teacher with a 25-year success record across grades 3-12.
For Parkland Magnet MS’ teachers, CoderZ offers up real-world applications that help students actually see how what they’re learning is applicable in the real world—even though it’s only in a computer simulation.
With the help of a DOE grant, Parkside school is now using CoderZ, an innovative online learning environment where kids learn how to program real and virtual robots using a 3D robotics simulation.
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