Innovative Partners in Teaching and Learning

BY JENNIFER VIGNE SRQ DAILY SATURDAY PERSPECTIVES EDITION SATURDAY JAN 28, 2017

In two weeks, the Education Foundation of Sarasota County will launch a pilot Java Boot Camp at Booker High School as part of our College & Career Readiness Initiative. By the end of this AP Computer Science course, students will know Java programming language, concepts of objectoriented programming, knowledge of algorithms and data structures, how to apply newly acquired knowledge toward solving real-world problems in fields such as finance, biology, engineering and graphic design, and how to design mobile apps.

Why does this matter? For two-fold reasons:

First, as our world continues to accelerate at a rapid rate of change, so too, we need to accelerate innovative ways of teaching and learning to our students and teachers. It is no secret that the technological footprint of our 21st century world is growing, and learning the language of Java will open doors to high-demand, high-wage jobs. During the next 10 years, there will be 1 million more computing jobs than there are graduating students to fill them and 30 percent of jobs will require technology and coding skills. These facts have led to increased demand for coding classes that train students in logic, critical thinking and design. If jobs like these can be outsourced anywhere in the world, let’s prepare our local students to land these opportunities right in our own backyard. Even if a student decides to pursue another career pathway outside of programming, students who master the material in this course will be better prepared to address computational challenges wherever they might appear later in their careers.

Secondly, the profile of the teacher himself is unique. With a Ph.D. in electrical engineering, this technology entrepreneur founded and sold two tech companies, has offices in Silicon Valley, Bangladesh, India and Madison, Wisconsin, has been awarded seven patents and holds his teaching certificate. He has aligned himself with the Education Foundation because he shares our vision to empower students in our community to fulfill their potential and seize their future by fostering a lifelong love of learning, and we are excited invest in this endeavor. Moreover, while this pilot program will be limited to 15 students from Sarasota public schools, this course will also hold a few seats specifically for teachers who are interested in teaching this course later. Using this “train the trainer” model to help prepare more teachers for courses such as this increases our ability to scale this to more students while also maintaining the high quality and specialization it demands.

It is innovative partners like this that will help accelerate the Education Foundation’s ability to realize our vision and we are incredibly excited to offer this course within our College & Career Readiness Initiative. If you have specialized skills you’d also like to share, please contact us at www.edfoundationsrq.org. Together, we can support our students and teachers in unique and innovative ways.