Teaching our students for the 21st Century

As an educator in our Florida public school system, I recognize that for those growing up in the 21st Century, it’s imperative that we give them the tools that expand their horizons, ignite their creativity, and unleash their potential in the science and technology arenas.

When taking a moment to look around our society today, one can see that we’ve taken extraordinary leaps in how we utilize technology in our day-to-day lives. Computers today are much different than what they were a decade ago. Our computers today are our phones, our music devices, and information platforms.

As we continue to see technological revolutions in areas such as science and medicine, e-commerce, and social media technologies, we also should ensure that our children are at the forefront of technological developments of the future, and not left behind. To that end, I believe that we must invest more time and training into areas such as computer science and writing code to keep them not only academically competitive, but economically competitive as well.

Computer coding is a branch of computer programming that basically tells the computer what to do. Coding skills are a valuable asset that every student should have. People from former President Bill Clinton to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg realize that being able to write code is a valuable asset.

For those looking to learn more about coding, there are organizations out there that are at the forefront of helping to inform and cultivate more student learning in writing code. One such group is CODE, which provides free educational portals that are similar to the highly praised Khan Academy. With all these free resources provided to the community by CODE, it is essential to take advantage of it to its full potential.

CODE is reaching out to schools across the nation to raise the level of awareness on computer science education and the need to give our students the skills necessary to compete in the new digital economy. Here in South Florida, we’re doing our part to support our student’s efforts to learn code in the classroom.

That’s why I am pleased to announce this year that Dec. 8-14 marks Computer Science Education Week. During this week, many schools throughout the country will be participating in an Hour of Code. The event is designed to get as many people involved in coding as possible. I am also issuing a proclamation to celebrate the nationwide Computer Science Education week.

The time is now to offer our students a better future by keeping up with new technologies. I want to ensure that we’re doing our part to put Florida students on the cutting edge of technological advances in our society. I’m asking each of you to spread the word about coding and the need to introduce more coding programs to our students here in Florida.

State Sen. Dwight Bullard proudly works at Coral Reef Senior High where he has enjoyed over 10 years of service as an educator in Miami- Dade County Public Schools. This year he passed legislation to help school administrators to deal with the harmful effects of cyberbullying. Sen. Bullard’s district is made up of parts Miami-Dade, Monroe, Collier and Hendry counties.

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