Things are starting to change, more and more technology is being integrated in schools as a learning tool for students.
Windsor Park Elementary is one school that teaches the art of coding.
Studies show that only 40 percent of schools across the country are teaching computer science in the classroom. Experts say this needs to change quickly.
Windsor Park is the only CCISD School that has a computer science class and teaches computer coding to elementary school kids, from first to fifth grade. And they will be the first to say learning those skills can be challenging and at the same time fun.
“In coding, we get to make programs to make certain things to do certain stuff to complete the games,” said nationally ranked fourth grader Ely Westbrook.
“It makes me feel smart and honored to have this opportunity to do it,” said nationally ranked fourth grader Kaylee Xu.
The program helps students become critical thinkers and team players.
“What they are learning is things they are going to learn not until high school or even college. They are learning different programming languages, computational thinking which isn’t something you are going to find on a standardized test. They are way above and beyond what even middle school kids are doing right now,”said technology teacher Gary Henicke.
“At this school, we learn a lot of things in this class, and I probably learn the most,” said Xu.
Computer code is the set of instructions that forms a computer program. Everything the kids want to be when they grow up will involve technology. And getting them started at this young age is important so they can learn and get interested in technology.
“It feels great because we get to start early before everyone else gets to start,” said Westbrook.
These students are solving problems, making decisions, and it shows when they are competing against the top computer science schools in the nation.
“We have had a computer science team for at least 5 years. The first year we got 4thplace, but so far after that, every year we have had at least one team as national winners. This year we are competing in two competitions, and currently, we are tied for second as a third, fourth, and fifth-grade combine team. And our fourth and fifth-grade team is currently in first place nationally,” said Henicke.
A program administrator at Windsor Park also works to make sure the coding program is relevant, working with industry companies to see what areas they’d like to see future employees have a better foundation in.
The world of technology isn’t slowing down anytime soon, and these students are not slowing down either.
The next generations – who won’t know a world without connected, digital devices – should be in the driver’s seat when it comes to technology, not indifferently unaware of the computer science behind it.