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Survey Looks at Gen Z Views on Tech Careers

A survey by Dell computers of Generation Z high-school and college students in 17 countries shows 80% want to work with cutting-edge technology as part of their careers, and 57% say their education has prepared them for a job. The data also show 98% have used technology during their education and 52% are confident in their tech skills.

Amazon Expands Future Engineer Program to Younger Grades

Amazon has expanded its "Future Engineer" initiative from high school into K-8. The program has begun offering free online lessons and funding summer camps to help elementary students discover the fun of computer science. Earlier this year, the company revealed the "Amazon Future Engineer Pathway" program that supported 100,000 high school students in taking  Advanced Placement courses in computer science and awarded four-year scholarships and internships to a sizable group of students from under-served populations.

Amazon’s newly announced program serving younger students will fund Computer Science camp scholarships through partnerships with Code.org and Coding with Kids. The mission is to provide underprivileged students with the means to learn coding in an interactive, hands-on way. Currently, the company is accepting scholarship applications for 2019 classes. Schools and districts may also apply on behalf of families.

The Gender Gap in Cybersecurity Needs to Close

According to Cybersecurity Ventures, there will be up to 3.5 million job openings in cybersecurity by 2021, but experts say there is a serious shortage of those trained to fill those spots. Furthermore, only 20% of cybersecurity workers currently are women, which can limit perspective when it comes to solving cyberthreats. "The wider variety of people and experience we have defending our networks, the better our chances of success," says Priscilla Moriuchi, director of strategic threat development at Recorded Future according to Forbes. Got a daughter interested in this field? Take a look at the tips for women entering cybersecurity in the article.

Black Girls Code and Mattel’s Barbie Team Up

According to KPIX-TV (San Francisco), Mattel has teamed with Oakland, Calif., nonprofit Black Girls Code to develop a new black Barbie that builds robots and may inspire girls and minorities to pursue careers in science. "Black Girls Code is breaking barriers, pushing down walls and really empowering our girls to let them know they can be here," says the nonprofit's Amber Morse.

The Connection Between Coding and Reading

Kids who are reluctant readers or who have special needs could be more engaged by learning to code first, asserts Kristen Brooks, a K-5 iPad lab teacher in Georgia. In an interesting blog post for parents and teachers, she suggests that coding can help students develop the skills needed to learn how to read, and shares several suggestions to help integrate coding in the classroom that also can be used by parents at home. An article on the National Public Radio site on coding for kindergarteners is also a useful read on this subject.

Why Kids Need to Learn How to Code

Is your school considering teaching students how to code? Do you understand the reasons why? For some interesting insights take a look at The Future of Coding in Schools on the Edutopia site. Mitch Resnick, who is one of the creators of the popular programming languages for kids called Scratch, outlines why he think that learning to code is akin to learning to write.

Coding Books for Kids

Teaching coding to kids is a trend that is on the rise. A number of children’s books are using fictional storylines to teach the fundamentals of coding -  Girls Who Code is releasing two books, a fiction novel called "The Friendship Code," and an illustrated coding manual, and Gene Luen Yang’s best-selling graphic novel series “Secret Coders” follows a group of kids who discover that their school’s janitor has a secret underground coding school. There are also a number of organizations that have developed apps and online lessons to teach kids coding as well.  Code.org provides free online coding lessons, and has crafted coding curriculums for elementary, middle and high school students. Scratch Jr, a coding program designed for 4- to 7-year-olds, now has some five million users, and last year, Apple released a free app to teach the programming language Swift.

Coding Books for Kids

Teaching coding to kids is a trend that is on the rise. A number of children’s books are using fictional storylines to teach the fundamentals of coding -  Girls Who Code is releasing two books, a fiction novel called "The Friendship Code," and an illustrated coding manual, and Gene Luen Yang’s best-selling graphic novel series “Secret Coders” follows a group of kids who discover that their school’s janitor has a secret underground coding school. There are also a number of organizations that have developed apps and online lessons to teach kids coding as well.  Code.org provides free online coding lessons, and has crafted coding curriculums for elementary, middle and high school students. Scratch Jr, a coding program designed for 4- to 7-year-olds, now has some five million users, and last year, Apple released a free app to teach the programming language Swift.