Preparing Students for a Mobile Workforce

17 Jun 2022

NCWIT AspireIT Toolkit Helps Educators Teach App Development

The NCWIT AspireIT Toolkit includes ways to design engaging and inclusive computer science experiences for K-12 students, with a focus on broadening the participation of girls, women, and underrepresented populations, including military-connected students.

“Everyone can code!” says Matt Brooks, development executive with Apple Education. Brooks recently escorted a virtual audience through the many free resources Apple has developed for educators as part of the DoD STEM-supported webinar series “Advising for Future-Ready Careers,” created by Defense STEM Education Consortium (DSEC) partner National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT). NCWIT's Aspirations in Computing team showcased many other resources available as part of the AspireIT Toolkit for educators during the fourth session of the series: “Preparing Students for a Mobile Workforce.”

This webinar focused on sharing how today's workforce uses innovative mobile technologies to transform the way we learn and work. As such, it's increasingly important for students to understand that digital fluency with mobile technology is essential to navigating STEM education and ultimately building a successful career. The webinar explored how coding and app design provides students with new ways to think and problem-solve.

In addition to the plethora of coding resources available through Apple, the NCWIT AspireIT Toolkit includes ways to design engaging and inclusive computer science experiences for K-12 students, with a focus on broadening the participation of girls, women, and underrepresented populations, including military-connected students. The AspireIT Toolkit has three sections: Activity Ideas, Program Types (afterschool, camps, hackathons, and community events) and “How-To” Guides. Each activity incorporates three core values: peer mentorship, inclusivity and hands-on engagement, which provide the greatest impact for participants.

Check out the NCWIT AspireIT Toolkit for Educators for free resources to teach coding to K-12 students.

According to the Future of Jobs Survey 2020 by the World Economic Forum, the following skills are in particular demand now and in the foreseeable future:

  • Analytical thinking and innovation
  • Active learning and learning strategies
  • Complex problem-solving
  • Critical thinking and analysis
  • Creativity, originality and initiative
  • Leadership and social influence
  • Technology use, monitoring and control
  • Technology design and programming
  • Resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility
  • Reasoning, problem-solving and ideation

New professional roles are being created as well, including the following:

  • Agile coach (manager of multiple teams)
  • Artificial intelligence solutions engineer
  • Content specialist
  • Data engineer
  • Growth hacker
  • Human machine interaction designer
  • Machine learning engineer
  • Quality assurance engineer
  • Scrum master (manager of developer team)
  • Talent acquisition specialist

The Aspirations in Computing team seeks to support educators in guiding students as they consider future technical careers — where every industry will require coding skills. Check out the NCWIT AspireIT Toolkit for Educators for free resources to teach coding to K-12 students. For information about future webinars, send a request to AspireIT@NCWIT.org.

About NCWIT

NCWIT is the only national nonprofit focused on women's participation in computing across the entire ecosystem, helping more than 1,100 organizations recruit, retain and advance women from K–12 and higher education through industry and entrepreneurial careers by providing support, evidence and action. In addition, NCWIT supports school counselors to remove barriers so students choose to learn computing, consider pursuing technical career paths and believe their voices can be heard in the tech industry. For DSEC, NCWIT is focusing on expanding opportunities for girls to learn programming and computational thinking in lab-adjacent communities.

About DoD STEM and DSEC

Defense STEM Education Consortium (DSEC) is a collaborative partnership of STEM-focused organizations dedicated to addressing and prioritizing our nation's STEM talent. DSEC aims to broaden STEM literacy and develop a diverse and agile workforce with the technical excellence to defend our nation. Through strategic investment in STEM education and outreach activities, the effort will provide students with more exposure to educational and career opportunities as well as DoD research. DSEC is led on behalf of DoD STEM by RTI International.