Legacy Traditional Schools will offer Coding 101 and VEX Robotics courses to its junior high students beginning Jan. 2019.
The Coding 101 course will be offered at Legacy schools in Laveen, Surprise, Casa Grande, Glendale and Gilbert.
“The coding elective focuses on computer science standards that were just released recently and approved by the Arizona Department of Education,” Brittany Ayo, subject matter expert over math and computers for Vertex Education (service provider to Legacy Schools), said.
Legacy will also offer a VEX Robotics course at its Avondale, Maricopa and Gilbert campuses.
Ayo explained that students who take the course will build VEX Robots using tools and programming. The students can use a remote control, or they can use coding to make it move without a remote.
“Students work on problem-solving skills. They get to work on teams. They get to work on their leadership skills and design the robots by themselves,” Ayo said.
The new courses do not begin until next semester, but students and parents are already showing interest.
“We’ve had a high number of interest of our students and parents that are wanting their child to be in this elective,” Ayo said. “We’ve already offered it to those campuses as an option, and our enrollment is at capacity in those classes. We have 34 students already enrolled at many of those schools because they want to learn coding or robotics.”
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer and information technology (IT) occupations employment is projected to grow 13 percent from 2016 to 2026, which is faster than the average for all occupations.
Coding and VEX Robotics courses for junior high students can prepare them to pursue high demand computer and IT occupations when they enter the workforce.
“We want to build twenty-first century learners and look toward those STEM-related fields in the workforce,” Ayo said. “We want to set them up for success so that they’re knowledgeable in technology and able to problem-solve in the real world.”
Legacy students who would not otherwise have access to this technology can use this opportunity to learn more about it.
If it piques their interest, they can consider STEM-related fields in their postsecondary education and career endeavors.
“The reason why we want to offer these electives to students is to provide them access to technology whether it’s computers, smartphones or tablets because everything that we do requires programming or computer literacy,” Ayo said. “That’s important to support students that way they can apply it and they understand the world around them because technology is important.”