Why a tech education is vital in helping kids accomplish their dreams—no matter what they are
Technology is a tool to build a life of meaning, says chair of Illinois Tech’s computer science department. A tech-infused education is key to unlocking potential and shaping the future for students of all backgrounds.
Video games need artists. Cybersecurity needs psychologists. AI needs philosophers.
In today’s rapidly evolving world, technology has become an indispensable part of our lives—and a powerful force that can help students reach their dreams, regardless of their interests. Tech offers endless possibilities for diverse thinkers to make an impact. Embracing a tech education is essential for today’s young learners, as it enables them to harness the power of technology, connect their interests with tech, embrace diversity, and invest in a better future.
It’s never too late to learn about the power and potential of technology.
Harness the Power of Technology
Computing and technology are often thought about as fields suited just for detail-oriented people with narrow specialized interests. However, the beauty of a tech education lies in its versatility. By learning about technology, students can enhance their understanding of various disciplines and apply these skills in different areas. By learning about technology, students can:
Enhance problem-solving abilities: Technical knowledge enables students to approach problems from different perspectives, fostering critical thinking and innovation.
Boost communication and collaboration: Tech education often involves working in teams to develop projects, allowing students to hone their communication and teamwork skills.
Adapt to change: As technology continuously evolves, a solid foundation in tech prepares students to adapt and thrive in an ever-changing landscape.
These skills are valuable not only in the tech industry but across all fields in all industries. By acquiring them, students become more well-rounded and adaptable, contributing to a more skilled and competitive workforce.
Connecting Interests to Technology
Young people often find math and science difficult because they don’t see the real-world applications of these subjects. By integrating technology into students’ passions, they can find the motivation to excel in STEM fields. For example, a student who’s passionate about literature might find great satisfaction as part of a team building a video game, and experiencing game design while learning technology may help them write better stories.
Some ways tech education can further enrich students’ learning experiences are:
Using digital tools to create art or music, blending creativity with technology;
Exploring the role of technology in historical events, enhancing their understanding of the past;
Engaging with simulations and virtual environments to visualize complex scientific concepts;
Using 3D printing to create customized prosthetics for individuals with disabilities;
Using virtual reality to bring digital cultural heritage materials to life;
And much more.
Regardless of what a teenager’s dream is, learning about technology will only help them follow their dreams and accomplish their goals.
Embracing Diversity in Tech
In today’s world, accomplishing anything significant requires a team of diverse thinkers. That’s especially true in tech. There are plenty of people in Silicon Valley who have a “tech brain” and have been coding since kindergarten. But the teams building the metaverse, for example, also include designers, architects, anthropologists, artists, and more. The same is true for every area of tech, and it will continue to be true into the future. By preparing students to collaborate effectively in various fields, a tech education can promote an inclusive environment that recognizes the value of different perspectives and skills.
Diverse thinkers who can use tech knowledge to contribute to diverse fields include:
Environmentalists using technology to develop sustainable solutions and mitigate the impact of climate change.
Educators leveraging digital tools and platforms to create engaging and personalized learning experiences.
Social workers utilizing data analysis and tech-driven resources to improve the delivery of social services.
Medical professionals using their insights into patients’ needs to develop new ways to use technology to improve healthcare outcomes and patient experience.
Investing in a Better Future
A quality tech education can significantly improve students’ lives, particularly for those from lower-income backgrounds. Graduates with strong tech skills often see significant boosts in earning power, leading to increased social mobility. (Alumni of Illinois Institute of Technology get the biggest bump in occupational earning power of any college or university in Illinois.) Additionally, technology is a rapidly evolving field, and a tech education equips students to participate in and shape its future, opening up new opportunities and career paths.
To ensure equal opportunities and foster innovation, it’s crucial to provide access to tech education for students from diverse backgrounds. This can be achieved through:
Implementing tech-focused programs in schools, regardless of their location or resources.
Encouraging mentorship and community involvement to inspire students and help them develop their skills.
Offering scholarships and financial support for students pursuing tech-related degrees.
A tech education is essential for empowering students from all backgrounds to unlock their potential, pursue their passions, and make a meaningful impact on the future. Programs like Illinois Tech’s Elevate College Prep can help middle and high school students see how an education in computer science and other tech disciplines can help them fulfill their dreams.
The future of tech is big and broad and touches everything. By providing the tools and knowledge necessary to harness the power of technology, connect students’ interests with tech, and embrace diversity, we can invest in a better future for the next generation. Whoever you are, you can be a part of it.