The emergence of the girls-only app-design contest known as Technovation has sparked discussion around campus about the future of technology and computer science. As teams of female participants brainstormed to create innovative apps, we have started to reassess the value of computer science as an essential component of a well-rounded education. With the upcoming changes in students’ schedules, Andover has been presented with the perfect opportunity to prioritize computer science as an academic requirement.
As of now, the onus is on students to pursue computer science at Andover. Computer science classes are offered as electives, but students seldom have room in their schedules to take advantage of these courses. While there are clubs dedicated to computer science, the lack of additional opportunities for advanced computer science students to cultivate their interests suggests that computer science is not as important as the core curriculum subjects or even the other diploma requirements that Andover mandates. Andover’s curriculum is designed to impart students with a basic understanding of several facets of the world around us from music and arts to biology and chemistry. But as our culture adapts, so too must these requirements. Given how integral digital technology has become to our society, Andover’s academic curriculum should reflect that change by requiring all students to take one term of computer science prior to graduation.
Besides the direct advantages of a mandatory computer science class, such as programming skills and problem solving techniques, our community would also benefit from a heightened understanding of the workings of the machines that we use everyday, which would also allow for a more successful implementation of technology in the classroom. Right now, many students’ academic uses of technology are limited to such tasks as accessing articles from online databases and using word processors – tasks that facilitate, rather than revolutionize, traditional methods of learning and working. Classes like Music 225 and Intro to Acting are required as a means of forcing students out of their comfort zone, to think differently and to, perhaps, discover a passion they otherwise would never have encountered. We believe that it is the time for computer science to be treated the same way.
Creating a mandatory term of computer science would provide all students with a basic understanding of computer science and programming. Whether a term of computer science results in the pursuit of high level classes or simply arms students with a rudimentary, but increasingly-necessary, knowledge of technology, it will prove beneficial to Andover students in a variety of academic, extracurricular and professional pursuits. Andover should prioritize our knowledge of computer science and programming so that we can be prepared and competitive within an increasingly technological world.
*This Editorial represents the views of* The Phillipian *Editorial Board CXXXVIII.*