Couragion Launches Computer Science Curriculum Designed to Make STEM More Inclusive and Diverse; Moves Beyond Just Coding and Robotics
Addresses skills gap by providing contextual, work-based learning experiences and occupational and essential skill mastery required for the workforce of the future
May 22, 2018 - Denver, CO - There is a groundswell of activity to expand access to computer science education across our nation. 84% of states have implemented computer science policy, graduation requirements, endorsements or seals, and/or dedicated funding to expanding the access and quality of computer science education. However, the majority of computer science courses focus on coding and robotics. While coders are in high demand, they only represent one role and skill set needed in the tech sector and in tech occupations across all other industries. This limited perspective is detrimental to our efforts to meet workforce demands and to broaden the participation of underrepresented populations.
Couragion's new computer science curriculum - called Couragion Challenges - upskills students in occupational and essential competencies required for the workforce of the future. These occupational skills look beyond coding and robotics to encompass data science, design thinking, agile methods, quality assurance, the impacts of computing, and a whole set of essential skills such as problem-solving, creativity, and critical thinking.
“Couragion Challenges gave my students and me a better understanding of what technology jobs are like in the real world. The interactive tasks helped students to quickly grasp computer science terminology and concepts and expanded their technology skillsets beyond coding. In addition, the expansive nature of the Challenges led to increased engagement among underrepresented students,” stated Amanda Giuliani, STEM Coordinator and STEM Academy Teacher at Skyline High School.
Critical roles and skills in the world of tech - especially those outside of software engineers and computer programmers - are not largely understood by students, educators, families or other career influencers. When the complete spectrum of careers and workforce competencies in tech are understood, they often appeal to and attract underrepresented populations who prefer to work more socially and collectively. Couragion's unique experience focuses on equity and broadening participation in STEM fields.
"I enjoyed how interactive and relatable it was. I found myself making personal connections to the content," shared a 10th grade Latina student after completing the User Experience Challenge.
Couragion’s recent STEM equity research proves that technology careers which are more expansive than just coding jobs are better fits for underrepresented populations. In a recent case study exploring pure coding jobs, 80% of white males find these careers to be a ‘best fit’ for their interests, values, and desired work characteristics – whereby only 33% of females and 44% of students of color find such jobs to be a ‘best fit’. When the definition of technology jobs is expanded, 66% more females and 23% more students of color receive a ‘best fit’.
“It's difficult to get students the exposure they need to real careers. But career research is often dry and irrelevant. The answer is Couragion. Couragion gives my students real data and real videos of real people. It's fun and it's interesting, and it shows students careers and helps them make decisions about their own interests,” stated Chuck Powell, 2015-2018 President of Front Range Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) Chapter, Colorado Technology Association 2016 Educator of the Year, and Computer Science and Engineering Teacher at Green Mountain High School.
Couragion Challenges improve classroom relevance, better inform student choice, and increase retention in real-world technology pathways. Couragion’s curriculum is aligned to the CSTA K-12 Standards and enhances existing computer science, technology or STEM curriculum and coursework.
"I did like the creativity of it and how interactive it is. It makes you feel like you’re actually learning how to do this person’s job," stated a 10th grade student after completing the Quality Assurance Challenge.
Couragion provides career literacy and workforce development solutions for educators, students and advocates to improve the awareness and perception of STEM careers and broaden the participation of underrepresented populations in those fields. Colorado-based Couragion is an educational technology, social enterprise that is generously supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), AT&T Aspire, and the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade.
Couragion - Laura Farrelly, 720-460-1744, firstname.lastname@example.org