The Importance of Computer Science for High School Students

The Importance of Computer Science for High School Students

According to a recent College Board report, the number of girls taking AP Computer Science Principles has skyrocketed to 136%, suggesting that these students value logic, computation, organization, and collaboration. Indeed, computer science programs for high school students can prepare teenagers for college and career by introducing transformative life skills.

This article will examine the impact of this escalating interest in technology and explore three reasons why high school students should enroll in computer science classes:

  • Fluency in a 21st Century “Language”
  • Pragmatic Expertise for Tomorrow’s Jobs
  • Relationships that Benefit from Technology

Defining “Computer Science”

“Computing” dates to ancient China, where  mathematicians calculated their herds and acreage; yet, the greatest technological leap occurred in 1843, when Ada Lovelace wrote the first algorithm and collaborated with Charles Babbage, who envisioned a “programmable computer.”

Since that momentous era, interest in computer science has continued to expand. Now, computer science refers to “a branch of science that deals with the theory of computation or the design of computers.”

Beginning in the 1960s, computer programmers turned their attention to global challenges; consequently, computer scientists accelerated learning and its subsequent applications by linking information to databases and infrastructures around the world, dramatically shaping society itself.

Moreover, modern, high-speed computers started to impact industries at all levels, including finance, healthcare, transportation, and communication, to name four essential domains.

Considering this reality, every time a person checks the weather, accesses GPS, or pays for goods and services, that individual must rely on computer science. Since we perceive rapid changes in nearly every field, students need mental dexterity and adaptable skills. A high-quality computer science course in high school can help students develop these traits — and succeed in life.

The Importance of Computer Science Programs for High School Students

Dr. Andrew Molnar is a pioneer in computer-assisted education, and he believes that our modern base of knowledge is so vast that “it would take 22 centuries to read the annual biomedical research literature or seven centuries to read a year’s chemical literature.” Consequently, we depend on computers to store, organize, cross-reference, and provide access points to data throughout the day, every day.

Students who enroll in computer science programs in high school have a distinct advantage over their peers since they progress from a familiarity with technology to a deep appreciation for cognitive computing.

As Dr. Molnar explains, cognitive computing means that the individual is an “information processor.” In other words, every person is an organic computer, with the inexhaustible potential to develop “higher-order, thinking and problem-solving skills.”

High school students spend much of their time learning to think critically and solve problems. Disciplined thinkers can classify and consolidate information while perceiving their limits and imagining changes; then, they can commit key points to memory in order to apply relevant data to their behavior.

Computer science programs for high school students deepen critical thinking as they empower students to grasp complex or abstract ideas and transform them into beliefs or direct actions.

Fluency in a 21st-Century “Language”

While we usually relegate “communication” to speech and the written word, “language” encompasses much more. For instance, computer science incorporates a precise, mathematical language to relay bits of information from multiple sources. The “language” of computer science crosses international and cultural boundaries. Therefore, global citizens of the 21st century must acquire the appropriate “language skills” to exist in a technological age.

High school students who enroll in computer science programs can enhance their ability to imagine an object or service, communicate its value, and execute the design.

Since Marlborough understands that successful high school students embrace technology judiciously, we offer innovative computer science classes that teach students how to navigate the ever-changing world of technology:

  • Students in Computer Programming I learn technology basics, such as coding. Computer Programming II, then, refines the student’s coding skills with web development, using HTML, CSS, and Javascript. Additionally, advanced students work on minicomputers with Raspberry Pi, and microcontrollers, via Arduino.

  • AP Computer Science A appeals to students who gravitate to a more challenging study of computer science and object-oriented programming with Java programming language. Students who successfully complete AP Computer Science may subsequently enroll in Computer Science Projects with an Honors designation.

Pragmatic Expertise for Tomorrow’s Jobs

Many of today’s jobs did not exist twenty years ago, from app developers and social media influencers to podcasters and content managers to drone operators and 3D printer engineers. Likewise, most of tomorrow’s jobs remain unknown.

Undoubtedly, computer science will play an integral part in the formation and implementation of future careers. Every new job that emerges depends, at least in part, on technology, which points back to computer science.

At Marlborough, our students hone essential skills that prepare them for prospective jobs. Consider these classes, for instance:

  • Computer Science Projects focus on coding and technology projects, such as computer simulation, programming languages, microcontrollers (e.g., Raspberry Pi, Arduino), scientific applications, and web development. Additionally, students may create interactive art, virtual reality or video games, and computer graphics.

  • While Statistics and Probability with Applications fall under a mathematics category, it relies heavily on computational thinking and problem solving. Thus, students explore variability, randomness, and probability, using a statistical computer software program and the TI-Nspire CX.

  • Artistic students may enjoy Digital Storytelling, which allows students to create digital stories using images, animations, and video. Concurrently, students experiment with computer programs, such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Premiere, and Adobe Animate CC.

Relationships that Benefit from Technology

Certainly, students who enroll in computer science programs in high school benefit from collaborative learning as they compare and verify details, apply logic to diagnose results and persevere to find workable solutions.

Since so many jobs today involve teamwork, computer science can help students sharpen interpersonal skills as they learn to ask incisive questions, practice active listening, and draft an eloquent report that the team has thoroughly researched.

Indeed, Marlborough encourages collaboration, especially in innovative courses and activities that incorporate computer science:

  • For instance, Engineering Design & Analysis invites high school students to collaborate on engineering projects, including the design and development of creative, realistic solutions. In each case, students analyze engineering problems and make data-driven decisions with customer needs in mind. The teams also collect data, reverse engineer their products, and use basic computer programming.

  • Additionally, Marlborough has four active, award-winning robotics teams that rely on computer science and mathematics. Participants also use CAD programming to design and fabricate their robot, while also implementing electronic systems for autonomous navigation. In a recent competition, judges recognized one of our teams for creating a robotic prosthetic for dogs.

  • Gabi B. ’20 used computer science to call for social change when she and her class built a pediatric CPR training app for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. The mobile app walks parents or caregivers through the steps of CPR, including a timer for chest compressions.

Why Choose Marlborough?  

Marlborough serves girls in grades 7 through 12. As a private, college-preparatory secondary school, we are conveniently located in the heart of Los Angeles, California.

Our goal is to ignite intellectual inquiry and to build the problem-solving, creativity, collaboration, and communication skills that our students will need to innovate, invent, and lead in college and beyond.

Next Steps

If you want your daughter to become a curious, agile thinker, consider Marlborough. Our outstanding computer science program for high school students can enrich your daughter’s educational experience as she prepares for college and beyond.

Want to know more about the Marlborough experience? 

Contact us today

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