Empowering Tomorrow's Innovators: Green Hills AEA and Local Districts Help Iowa Rank 8th in the Nation for Computer Science
Iowa was named a top 10 state in computer science education in a recent national report by code.org. Green Hills Area Education Agency (AEA) has been working with local school districts to help them meet new state requirements to make this achievement possible.
Computer science, as defined by the state of Iowa, is understanding how and why technologies work, exploring whether and how technology could solve real-life problems, investigating procedures, creating solutions, and learning about computing systems, programming, data, networks, and the effects on society and the individual. Computer science is learning how to create new technologies, rather than simply using them.
Iowa state law requires districts to create a K-12 computer science plan for instruction and implementation. Starting last year, the state also required all high schools to offer at least one semester of computer science. This year, districts must teach computer science in grades 1-8.
Green Hills AEA has been working closely with local educators, providing professional development opportunities to understand the new requirements and create their district computer science plan. Over 90% of districts in Green Hills AEA participated in these workshops. The AEA also provided coaching, as well as assistance with understanding the computer science standards, available curriculum, best instructional practices, and resources to utilize in the classroom.
The Green Hills AEA media department works with districts to offer up-to-date, hands-on devices to check out for students, including programmable robots, drones, micro-computers, and many more! Green Hills Digital Learning consultants support the implementation of these devices into instruction through modeling and one-on-one coaching, in-district professional development, and resources.
Why is this so important? Technology is an ever-growing part of our world. Teaching foundational computer science skills to young learners lays the groundwork for preparing students for future careers, becoming real-world problem solvers, and creating innovative, creative thinkers. According to code.org’s annual report, Iowa averages over 4,000 computing jobs each month with an average salary of over $90,000. Giving all students the skills needed for these jobs can go a long way to close the poverty gap, boost local and state economies, and shape the future for generations to come.