In Dani Ward’s 1st grade classroom at Newport Heights Elementary School in Bellevue, Washington, the day is divided up into the subjects I remember from elementary school – math, reading, science, art, music, and P.E. But two years ago, Ms. Ward decided to do things a little differently - she began teaching her students to code.
“My students love the creative process,” Ms. Ward said. “Coding teaches them to collaborate with each other, approach problems differently, and the importance of perseverance.”
According to Code.org, Washington state has over 21,000 vacant jobs in computer science —but we only graduate 1,000 students with computer science degrees each year. And, only 20% of those graduates are female.
That’s why I’m a big supporter of teachers like Ms. Ward—because the world needs more young people trained in science, mathematics, and computer science—and you can’t start too early. We want to help more teachers like Ms. Ward so I am excited to announce Amazon’s support of the newly-released K-12 Computer Science Framework, a high-level set of concepts and practices to guide the implementation of computer science education for all students.
Learning to code made a big difference in my life, but I didn’t think coding was cool until college. Ms. Ward’s classroom is an excellent example of why this framework is vital to developing more coders. And right now, not only is there a shortage of coders, but there is also a shortage of diverse coders. By exposing all students to this field early in their educational career, it's our hope that a larger and more diverse group of talented, confident, and committed coders will emerge.
“My students are too young to know the stereotypes surrounding the computer science field,” Ms. Ward explained. “As they move through school, they won’t think so much about what type of person usually becomes a computer scientist – they’ll just know that they like it already!”
Ms. Ward said some of her students have already declared that they want to be computer scientists when they grow up—this is great news. With this framework, I’m hopeful even more young students realize their passion for coding.