theodp writes: On Monday, tech-bankrolled Code.org announced the CS Journeys program, which the nonprofit explains is designed to help teachers “excite, encourage, and empower your students to continue their CS journeys in and beyond your class.” Besides live, virtual field trips to Amazon’s Fulfillment Centers, kids aged 5-and-up will also participate in live, weekly classroom conversations with professionals from the likes of Google and Amazon, where they “will learn about a number of ways they can use computer science to have a positive impact, as well as different journeys that people have taken to get to meaningful careers and achieve their goals.” A Googler will speak to kindergartners and other younger students about Developing responsible artificial intelligence on Sep. 22nd. Teachers are also being asked to show students inspiring Careers in Tech videos featuring employees from Facebook/Instagram, Microsoft, and Google.
Explaining that “students who hear from parents that they would be good at computer science are 2-3 times more likely to be interested in learning it,” Code.org urges teachers to also “connect with parents and recruit their help in encouraging students to learn and continue on their computer science journey.” Code.org even provides teachers with talking points to include in emails and letters home. A sample: “Computer science teaches students critical thinking and problem solving. In fact, studies show that students who learn computer science do better in other subjects, excel at problem solving, and are more likely to go to college. […] Parent/guardian encouragement is critical to student success and interest in learning and success. So ask your student to see something they created in class.”
The launch of CS Journeys comes less than a year after Google VP Maggie Johnson — a long-time Code.org Board member — reported that a Google-commissioned Gallup report showed that “students are generally unconvinced that computer science is important for them to learn,” adding that “Interventions from parents, educators, community leaders, policymakers, nonprofits and the technology industry are needed to encourage girls, Black students and Hispanic students to take computer science courses. These students also need to be shown how CS knowledge can help them meet their goals in a variety of fields including the humanities, medicine and the arts.” According to the report, only 22% of boys and 9% of girls “believe it is very important to learn CS.”