TWIN FALLS, Idaho — Jobs in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) related fields are in high demand. In response, K-12 education is making moves to offer more STEM learning opportunities to students.
The Twin Falls School District currently offers a variety of computer science courses and is making strides to expand STEM opportunities. One way the district introduces students to STEM learning is through Hour of Code, which is a national campaign that aims to expand access to lessons in computer coding.
Twin Falls High School participated in the event with many returning, and first-time coders.
“I actually had the Hour of Code in fifth grade and that was the first time I had it, and it really kind of sparked a new found interest that I didn’t know I had and helped me discover this whole new world of possibilities,” said Tyler Evans, senior at Twin Falls High School.
Evans was a student organizer for his school’s Hour of Code.
“The students seemed pretty engaged with it, and we actually taught them something and we got students to be interested in IT,” said Evans.
The Hour of Code sparked interest of first time students.
“It kind of just gives me experience and knowledge on how to start out with coding… I’m definitely looking forward to it next year,” said Brenner Swearingen, freshman and first time coder at Twin Falls High School.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, from 2020-2030, employment in software development is projected to grow more than 20%.
“We know that science, math, engineering and technology are growing fields. They are where the careers of the future are going to be for our students and we know that they need to have some intro skills before they get into the workforce or into colleges or universities to further that education,” said Eva Craner, Public Relations Director for the Twin Falls School District
Idaho is one of only 23 states that has adopted a policy to give all high school students access to computer science education.
The Twin Falls School District is focusing on expanding STEM offerings for all of its students, starting in elementary school.
“Giving students an opportunity early on, even to just see what those careers have to offer, just to see what that line of study looks like, is really important,” said Craner.
At Twin Falls High School, students have access to web design, IT help desk, coding and more.
Elementary schools in the district offer coding clubs to help students learn the basics.
“Computer science should be incorporated, especially through younger grades, mainly because it’s almost as important as learning English. In the modern world you use it almost every day,” said Evans.