Computers are shaping our daily lives. They allow us to design, create, and communicate more efficiently than we ever imagined. We can now process tons of information, share and collaborate with individuals on the other side of the world, and solve complex problems in science, engineering, business, medicine, education, and more.
That is why the field dedicated to studying computers is more relevant than ever, and instilling this knowledge in future generations is crucial for fostering critical thinking in those who will build the computers of tomorrow.
In this blog post, we will explore the importance that computer science has gained and why it is critical for our schools to start teaching this subject, just like they do with natural sciences. Let’s get started!
What is Computer Science?
As with any other science, the field of computer science is widely studied and theorized. Computer science is based on a deep understanding of computation, its algorithmic foundations, the interactions between hardware and software, and the potential uses that can be given to computers in general.
Computer scientists not only theorize about how to build the most powerful computer in the world, but they also study other aspects of computing such as architecture, programming languages, software engineering, artificial intelligence, and many other subfields that we often interact with in our daily lives without even realizing it.
Both computers and fields like physics, chemistry, or biology have their own areas of study that follow the scientific method to increase our understanding of the respective topics.
Why are Computer Science important?
Computer science is essentially the foundation of all software. As early as the mid-20th century, in the relentless pursuit of increasing the efficiency of precise mathematical calculations, thousands of experiments were conducted to create the first computer/calculator that could solve simple mathematical problems.
We have come a long way since then, as you are probably reading this article from a mobile device capable of connecting to the internet, taking photos, processing large amounts of information, and, of course, calculating the total cost of your grocery list.
Computers, and more specifically, software, have made immeasurable advancements in the last decade, making computer science even more relevant. It is now present in our daily lives not only to provide entertainment and connectivity but also to save lives in hospitals, ensure that travelers reach their destinations safely by air, land, or sea, and even to carry out the most incredible architectural projects that humanity has ever seen.
Now, computer science is taking the next big step in its relatively short history: we are creating algorithms that mimic human behavior, capable of making decisions and solving problems with little or no human interaction. This is what we call artificial intelligence, which, when employed correctly, can help us solve the most important problems we face as a civilization.
Computer science is important because it shapes and will continue to shape fundamental aspects of our lives.
Why Teach Computer Science in Schools?
Until recently, computer science was mostly studied at universities or large companies. However, considering what was discussed in the previous section, it is now more important than ever for schools around the world to include this subject in their curricula, just as they currently do with natural sciences.
In the technological boom we are experiencing, it is critical for young people to understand the technology that surrounds them from an early age so that they can make informed decisions in the future. Furthermore, artificial intelligence is changing the world much faster than academic structures can adapt. We need to start now!
According to a study conducted by Google, 91% of parents in America want their children to learn computer science. However, only 53% of schools in the United States offer this type of instruction in their curriculum. In Latin America, the number of schools teaching computer science is considerably lower.
Increasing these numbers is crucial because students who receive instruction in computer science during their school years are much more likely to graduate with a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) degree from university.
Various sources indicate that girls who take computer science courses in school are 10 times more likely to obtain a university degree in computer science, while students from low-income backgrounds, in general, are seven times more likely to achieve a degree in computer science.
Furthermore, given the widespread use of computers in all industries, two-thirds of current job vacancies require some form of computer knowledge. This correlation between individuals with a degree in computer science and high incomes is evident, as they earn five times more than the average minimum wage.
In other words, including computer science in the school curriculum has the potential to improve the economy and quality of life in less privileged communities around the world.
How to Incorporate Computer Science into the School Curriculum?
At Wonderly, we have developed a course on the principles of computer science in Spanish, following the curriculum of the College Board in the United States and the best pedagogical practices of Finland, something unprecedented for Spanish-speaking students.
With our hybrid model, which combines instructors and engaging animated videos, we offer the best learning experience in the world for digital skills, specifically in computer science.
Our curriculum focuses on introducing high school students to the foundations of computer science, demonstrating how the devices they use in their daily lives influence the world they live in. Students who take our program learn how to creatively solve real-world problems using the computational tools we provide, fostering their critical thinking, logic, research skills, abstraction, and algorithmic thinking.
Most importantly, through Wonderly, they develop all these skills while having fun, which is crucial for students to be attracted to the concepts the instructor wants to teach.
To incorporate Wonderly into an existing curriculum, there is no need to be an expert in computer science. Any STEAM teacher is perfectly capable of leading computer science courses using our curriculum and the flipped classroom methodology, where students watch a short video and then discuss the lessons with the rest of the class. In addition, the teacher will have the necessary tools for student assessment.
Wonderly runs on any device with an internet connection, although its use in computer labs is recommended whenever available. It is also available through a simple API that allows the integration of the learning platform directly on the school’s server, if desired.
Computing has become as important in our lives as physics, chemistry, or biology. That is why the branch of science dedicated to its study is gaining more and more relevance in the educational field. Our students, the ones who will develop the computers of tomorrow, must acquire knowledge that will allow them to grow not only intellectually but also economically and socially.
It is critical to include computer science courses in schools, and with Wonderly, it is now easier than ever. Start today through the following link: learnwonderly.com