ICT Employment

 

ICT Education in K-12 Schools

ICT Education in K-12 SchoolsThe U.S. is experiencing a crisis in education. A third of students in K-12 educational systems do not finish high school. An inadequate fraction of those who do are entering Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields.

Many of our nationís scientists, technical workers, engineers and mathematicians are nearing retirement. We need to replace them in our workforce, and we need to significantly expand our STEM workforce to be competitive in global innovation, information and knowledge economies.

ICT fields are generally STEM fields. How do we do a better job exposing students to ICT and attracting them into ICT academic careers in K-12 education? K-12 students are often savvy users of ICT at early ages. How do we better integrate ICT into K-12 teaching and learning experiences to keep their attention, appeal to their learning styles and keep them in school? How can we build better ICT pathways from K-12 systems into colleges and universities? These are among the issues of ICT education in K-12 schools.

 

Attracting and Communicating With K-12 Students About ICT:

 

WGBH in Boston, together with the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) have produced a report called New Image for Computing, which surveyed K-12 students for their perceptions and values related to Computer Science and provides valuable market research about messaging to appeal to K-12 students. We need to seriously communicate with kids about what ICT is and the impacts and opportunities in ICT for them, and we need to give them exciting experiences using and developing their understanding of ICT technologies.

K-12 Faculty Development in ICT:

One reason many kids are turned off by STEM and ICT fields is their teachers do not understand, are not comfortable with or do not like those fields. We need to develop K-12 teachers who are competent with ICT and like and use it. Their modeling and enthusiasm is a major factor on student decisions about what they like and want to pursue.

K-12 Counselor Assistance for ICT:

Many K-12 student and college counselors are confused by ICT and are not sure how to best advise students about ICT. Fair enough. ICT is confusing. We can do a better job teaching counselors about ICT and ICT educational and career pathways, and we can give them tools to improve their ICT related counseling efforts.

K-12 ICT Curriculum and Resource Development:

It is difficult to develop and deliver successful ICT courses and modules in K-12 schools. We could help by producing and teaching teachers to deliver those materials - and giving or loaning them equipment needed to give students real experiences with ICT technologies.

K-12 ICT Standards:

Some schools have ICT related academic standards. For example, California has 7th Ė 12th grade CTE standards related to ICT for: 1) Information and Communication Technologies, divided into Information Support and Services, Networking, Software and Systems Development, and Games and Simulation. California has also developed a tool called CTE Online which can be used to help K-12 teachers develop courses and lesson plans to meet requirements for ICT related course offerings. Most college faculty are not familiar with high school ICT related standards and therefore do not always align college curriculum well with K-12 curriculum. Increasing alignment of ICT related standards and curriculum throughout our educational system would improve ICT competencies and make acquiring ICT knowledge and skills more efficient and reliable throughout our educational and workforce systems.

K-12 Articulation and Transfer:

There is an enormous opportunity to improve ICT education by better aligning K-12 and college ICT related curriculum and developing clear articulation pathways from K-12 schools into college. We need better coordination between high school ICT related offerings and those in colleges. California has developed a tool called California CTE Pathways to assist with those efforts. Similar tools exist for Oregon and Hawaii. Those tools are only as good as the information they contain, however. Letís collaborate between K-12 schools and colleges to build better ICT academic pathways. Increasing ICT dual enrollment courses and working together on curriculum development is a particularly powerful opportunity!

MPICT and its Regional Partner Ohlone College are working on these issues.