7 Ways to Get Students Interested in Computer Science

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7) Field Trips

Perhaps nothing excites students more than the opportunity to take a field trip. Escaping from the confines of the classroom and learning about things in a real-world environment can really spark imaginations and reveal the dynamics of careers in the technology field. The options you have are only limited by the companies in your area and their willingness to host your students.

Several years ago, I took some students to visit Harvard Medical School. One of my friends worked there as a network administrator. We got to tour the campus data center and examine the vast racks of computing and communication equipment. The raised floor with the perforated tiles, massive battery backup, and miles of fiber optic and colorful copper cables made for a fascinating trip. Some of the professionals working there took the opportunity to speak to my students about the types of work they did and the education they needed beyond high school.

This past year, my computer science class was hosted by IBM at the Technology Innovation Center in Cambridge. We were given free accounts and tutorials to build websites using the IBM Bluemix cloud-based development environment. Volunteers from IBM were on hand to speak about their particular areas of interest and even sat down to eat lunch and mentor students.

While you may be tempted to limit your choices to companies that specialize in technology, never hesitate to look beyond a company’s core business. Two-thirds of all programming jobs are not with software or hardware development firms. The vast majority exist with all types of businesses and government agencies. Tours can often be arranged with area colleges. Students can examine computer labs and speak to students and professors about the types of research and topics they can learn.

Information technology has rapidly altered the economy and how people communicate. Being able to control and utilize computer hardware and software is as critical as reading, writing, and arithmetic for students. There are a tremendous number of websites, training, and mentoring opportunities for teachers and students that can help them learn the skills they will need to be successful in school and in their future careers. Interested in more articles and blogs about computer science? Check out the CS10K Community and their photo challenge for Computer Science Education Week!

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