Teachers see computer science as critical to students' future success
But many say the resources aren't there to teach it.
Today marks the start of another Computer Science Education Week, which means tech companies and teachers around the world are turning their attention to coding. But while a vast majority of teachers say that computer science education is an important component to future success for students, many feel they are underqualified to teach it and even more say the resources are lacking, according to a new survey of 540 K-12 teachers conducted by Microsoft and YouGov.
Overall, the survey found that 88 percent of teachers believe computer science is "critical to ensuring students' future success in the workplace." And while coding is the most obvious skill that computer science education can help students develop, educators see it as a gateway to help promote other critical skills as well. Thirty-eight percent of teachers surveyed said computer science would help students hone problem-solving skills, while 31 percent said it could help build logic and reasoning skills. Further, 83 percent of teachers surveyed said coding could help bolster students' creativity.
Despite a belief in its importance, however, 20 percent of teachers said that students aren't taught computer science at all, with reasons ranging from a lack of funding to it simply not being a part of the curriculum. Thirty percent of teachers also said they feel underqualified to teach computer science.
Finally, a vast majority of teachers surveyed, 80 percent, say that big tech companies – like Microsoft, Google, and Apple – should be involved in helping kids build computer science skills. Nearly the same portion – 75 percent – say that Federal and State governments "aren't doing enough to equip schools" with the resources to develop these skills.
For this year's Computer Science Education Week, Microsoft has teamed up with Code.org once again to offer a new Minecraft Hour of Code tutorial, calling Voyage Aquatic. Microsoft is also hosting Hour of Code activities all across Europe in a bid to bring together students, teachers, and government officials. The company also announced today that it is committing $10 million to help Code.org advance computer science education policies across every state.
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Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl.