Preparing our children for the digital society

By Raghu Santanam, Chair

Department of Information Systems

Some of you who keep an eye on the Arizona legislature may be aware that a recent bill in (SB 1055) introduced a requirement for one hour of coding for all pupils in grades 4-12. What is remarkable is that it requires that the instruction be offered by a non-profit organization (which includes universities). The bill is still not law, but signals a major trend in K-12 education. In a digital society, it is important that every citizen knows the rudiments of how computers work and how they interact with each other and with humans. Not everyone needs to be a programmer, but computer literacy is fast becoming a necessary condition for employment at any level.

We believe we are ahead of the curve in assisting Arizona school children to become productive members of a digital society. In our featured story in this issue, we are pleased to report on another successful “Secret Code of Business” workshop for middle school children in the Phoenix area. We had nearly 75 students attend the workshop on two separate weekends. I would like to personally thank the parents and school administrators who collaborated with us to make this event a great success. Our student volunteers have been wonderful ambassadors of ASU. They are demonstrating to everyone our department’s strong commitment to the community.

We are hoping to continue to expand this event and help Arizona children become computer literate before they graduate from high school. Moreover, we want them to experience the university environment and interact with our current undergraduate students. It is a great way to motivate them to prepare for university education!

We continue to push forward on our undergraduate CIS curriculum revisions. Our faculty have been working hard over the summer to integrate the new curriculum into their courses. I am looking forward to featuring the significant changes to the curriculum in the next academic year.

I hope all of you are having a great summer. It has been an incredibly hot July in Phoenix this year; well, that’s what motivates you to huddle inside, drink lots of cold water and work on your teaching and research!