On March 29th, Michael and I participated at the CCA 7th Grade STEM Day at Clear Creek Amana Middle School in Tiffin, IA organized by Workplace Learning Connection. The day involved guest speakers from all kinds of different science and technology backgrounds and we were responsible for the Information Technology session. Throughout our 4 sessions, we talked to over eighty 7th graders about how many careers are actually connected to, or benefit from, Information Technology in one way or another. We talked about the many different sides of IT. Whether you want to pursue graphic design, programming, engineering, music, sports, data and analytics, or many other career paths: having a basic understanding of how computers actually work is an important strength for a wide range of modern careers.
While giving our talk, it was fun to answer all of the questions that the kids had about different IT careers they were considering. It was also really encouraging to see just how many kids have already had exposure to programming at such a young age! Many of them mentioned that they got into coding either on their own through sites like Khan Academy or through a program like Hour of Code (to which Bio::Neos annually contributes volunteer time). The number of young kids that are getting into technology so early is really a testament to how important and pervasive technology has become in our everyday lives.
Near the end of our talk, we were able to give a short demo of a simple web application that was set up to allow the kids to give their suggestions as to how we should modify it. This ended up being the highlight of the session for many of them and looking at the code behind the web app actually seemed to spark their interests even more! All in all, it was an extremely successful STEM day full of fun for everyone involved!