Opinion: Computer science: A healthy future for elementary education

Posted on Feb 13 2018 - 7:55am by Woody Dobson

I remember my high school digital media class back in Waco, Texas. The year was 2010, and my classmates and I underwent rigorous training in Adobe software such as Photoshop, InDesign and Dreamweaver.

Though the class was very technologically demanding, I am thankful I was chosen out of the large student body to take the class. Without this previous computer science instruction, I probably wouldn’t be ready for the job market.

Today, learning about technological fields like computer science is vital to the education of all students. Believe it or not, Mississippi is now introducing fourth-graders to the art of code and digital media application.

The Mississippi Department of Education is currently expanding its influence on classroom innovation regarding computer science. Though technology is nothing new to schools in many Northern states, some Southern states have also begun to integrate computer science skills into various learning environments.

I cannot help but agree with this expansion, for the changing economy turns secondary education classes toward an increasingly high-tech, computerized labor market. Case-in-point, Mississippi’s Tupelo Public School District proves this design with its powerful technological incorporation vision.

Without technological innovation like this, many problems involving educational awareness about technology and computer science could arise for future generations. Some problems that accompany a lack of computer education include reduced awareness of the power of social networking, poor data-organizational skills and general computer trouble in the workplace.

Additionally, without basic computer science knowledge, a modern job can become much harder and a potentially debilitating struggle. Even though computers are complex machines, technology like artificial intelligence is becoming the new 21st century trend, and educating fourth- and 12th-graders alike in machine functionality is critical for stability in the coming years. Therefore, computer science must be handled with proper and well-coordinated education.

A well-coordinated computer science educational effort has to coexist with the modern education system, as in Dallas ISD’s case. In this district’s case, knowledge of algorithms, programming and robotic skills gives students a solid computer science foundation upon high school graduation.

These skills provide students a basic understanding that helps them greatly when they are thrust into an advancing job market. Fundamental IT knowledge like this could pave the way for advanced AI knowledge.

Computer science will affect elementary educational institutions worldwide. Familiarizing children with computerized devices in this way is the fastest way to ensure knowledge after high school, without workplace repercussions.

When artificial intelligence arrives full-swing, these children will not only be the byproducts of a globalized and computerized world, but they will be armed with a vast arsenal of computer science skills and a healthy IT education. Therefore, it’s imperative for the United States to fulfill an obligation it owes to all states – even humble Mississippi – and support computer science education.

Woody Dobson is a senior political science major from Tupelo.