IT Works to Dispel Nerdy Image to Students
Toronto Star, June 29
In Canada, the ICT sector is trying to shed its “nerdy” image, in the hopes of luring the tech-savvy millennial generation back to computer science careers. In response to declining enrollment in computer-related programs, the Canadian Coalition for Tomorrow’s ICT Skills conducted a survey of Grade 9 and 10 students across Canada (Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal and Halifax) to find out their opinions on the ICT field. The results, released early June, showed the extent to which ICT must reinvent itself. While roughly three-quarters of students believe the tech industry offers good salaries and job stability, only 39% found ICT careers appealing, and even fewer found them interesting.
The problem, the Canadian researchers found, was that most teenagers really don't know what it means to be involved with the computer science field. As a result, young people are stuck with an outdated vision of the field that is not very alluring. Educators say the key to getting students excited about technology is to bring technologies students use every day, such as cell phones, into the classroom. In some classes, for example, students learn to create games on their phones. These programs, launched after a dramatic drop in demand for computer science, have created a buzz among students, with many graduates going on to computer-related studies and settling on careers in technology. In time, other school systems may adopt similar types of programs as they develop new best practices.
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