In an effort to attract more students to the computer science field, the Computer Information Systems (CIS) Department is offering a free workshop for Western New York high school teachers during the third CS4HS (Computer Science for High School), June 30 through July 2 in the Technology Building.
Led by CIS faculty members Sarbani Banerjee, Neal Mazur, Ramona Santa Maria, and Barbara Sherman the workshop will provide an overview of computer programming, web design, and problem-solving exercises.
“We are excited by the response this year,” said Santa Maria. “Approximately 25 teachers from across Western New York are planning to come, some from as far away as Jamestown and Syracuse.”
Sponsored by a grant from the technology company Google, CS4HS is intended to convey various concepts of computer science as well as strategies for attracting students to the field. Participants will receive books, educational materials, and a certificate for 20 hours of professional development.
Because most high schools don’t offer computer science courses, Banerjee said it is crucial to encourage math, science, and technology teachers to include computer concepts into curriculums.
For students, this move makes sense as jobs in the computer science field are plentiful and lucrative. According to a recent article in Business Insider magazine, by the year 2022, approximately 140,000 job openings are projected for software application developers and 127,700 for computer system analysts. Nationwide, the median annual salary for those professors currently are $90,000, and $72,000 respectively.
Besides pointing high school students toward these careers through their teachers, the workshop presents the perfect opportunity to showcase the stellar technology education Buffalo State offers.
“It’s a real benefit to us to get teachers and high school students to see the facilities and programs we have,” Santa Maria said. “When they come to campus, they see that we are modern, that we focus on research, and that we work with the community.”
In past workshops, Buffalo State faculty encouraged teachers to start computer clubs in their home schools to spark student interest. They have heeded the advice.
“Most offer computers clubs now,” Santa Maria said. “Some are bigger than others, but they are all working to recruit students to the field. In order for high school kids to compete in the computer science showcase we hold every May, they’re required to have had some kind of club experience.”
CS4HS organizers plan to hold a follow-up workshop with the same teachers in the fall and a reunion in the spring to discuss successes and challenges.
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