This is such an important topic! Often kids–and parents–see tech as complicated, daunting, all-math-and-science. Kids think they’re not ‘smart’ enough and maybe, parents think that too! Here are great suggestions for encouraging young participation in a field that is probably the top choice for jobs:
4 Ways to Inspire Kids to Pursue a Degree In Information Technology
In this tech-centric day and age, the demand for science, technology, math, and engineering skills has spiked significantly, and it only seems to increase. This is evident in how an increasing number of schools offer information technology degrees. There isn’t a single day that we don’t interact with technology. However, while the vast majority of people understand how to use technology, far too few want to understand how technology works.
It’s intimidating to delve into the finer details on the functionality of tech. Most people know how to use a social media platform, but show no interest in understanding the coding behind it. How then, can we spark such an interest in our children?
Start With Toys
Playtime eventually evolves into work time, and toys have a powerful influence on a child’s interests, thinking, behavior, and creative expression. Educational toy manufacturers such as Sphero, Kiwi Co., and Sparkfun create toys that help children learn about coding, circuitry, engineering, and many other STEM fields.
Celebrate With Tech
Introduce your child into the culture of science by holding their next birthday at a science center or a discovery museum. Sure, many schools organize field trips to these places, but if you want your child to gain a genuine interest in these things, you need to try to introduce it on a more personal level. It’s much easier to pique a child’s interest when an element of fun is introduced.
Introduce Tech Role Models
We all look up to somebody. Some of us even want to be like our role models. The people we admire also reflect the traits and interests that we want to exude. The stories and contributions of these exemplary people open your child to a world of possibilities. The way these people think and act can serve as much an aspiration to children as they are a guide.
Each person has his or her own reasons for the interests they have. We all want to find meaning in our work, and even when children may not have the same need, the innate desire to help can become a powerful driving force. Focus on the bigger impact that technology has on other people. Things like how Tesla’s electric cars help reduce carbon emissions or how Minecraft has become a game that brings joy to many people around the world can inspire your child to want to pursue a career in STEM.
Our growing dependence on tech creates a growing demand for experts in tech-related fields. Chief among these fields is information technology, which is arguably the foundation of all modern technologies. The Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, and 5G are all pieces of technology that are bound to change our way of life, and in order to perfect these technologies, we’re going to need more brilliant minds to contribute to the ever-growing pool of tech experts. As educators, we hold sway over the things our students find an interest in. It is an important role because the manner in which we expose young children to industries and interests can either spark an interest or create a disinterest in the field.
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Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-12 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, contributor to NEA Today and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.