Edu-Maker Sara Boucher is Making the Case in New Mexico
Every state has varied engagement with and need for Computer Science; this week’s educator hails from New Mexico, where the demand for computing jobs far outweighs CS graduates. To find stats on other states’ implementation of Computer Science, check out this resource from Code.org. Select any state, and get informed!
We’re excited to share our conversation with Sara Boucher, a self-described “super geek” who’s making the push in New Mexico to improve the number of Computer Science graduates there. Sara will be moderating Monday’s #Tynkerchat, with our dedicated code-minded educators. Here’s a little more about Sara:
Sara Boucher is a geeky sixth year teacher in Los Lunas, New Mexico. Currently she is cultivating the next crop of super-geeks in her 7th and 8th Robotics and Computer Programming classes at Los Lunas Middle School in Los Lunas, New Mexico. You can reach her on Twitter at @MsGeekyTeach.
This week, Sara shared her insight on Computer Science and STEAM in New Mexico:
1. In New Mexico, open computing jobs represent a $112,110,450 opportunity in terms of annual salaries. How does that opportunity reflect on what you do as a Computer Programming and Robotics teacher in NM?
As a teacher, this gives me a lot of opportunity to show students what Computer Science can do for their future. It also means it’s time for me to step up my game and introduce kids to Computer Science like they have never seen. It definitely puts on a lot of pressure as this is my first year teaching middle school, but I welcome the challenge to share new ideas and get them excited about computer science. I hope they leave with a love for Computer Science, and an understanding of how it can help them in the future.
2. What’s your favorite project you’ve ever done with kids?
This is a tough one – we have done so many cool projects! An absolute favorite of mine was our first after school coding club. I decided to go with Sphero since I had a few and my kids loved them. We did weekly coding projects for about six weeks, twice a week. The last few weeks they created awesome projects from bridges, to mazes, and even chariots. It was an amazing time to spend with them and see their interest in Computer Science grow.
3. According to Code.org, NM has had only 141 Computer Science graduates since 2015. What’s our motivation there?
Even though the number is small, I am seeing growth in New Mexico. Technology is a growing field and is still expanding. In 2018, Facebook will have their seventh data center in Los Lunas, New Mexico, which is a great step for technology in our state. Science is also all around New Mexico – from both Los Alamos and Sandia National Labs, to the NRAO Very Large Array. With that being said, the demand for teaching computer science at all levels of education is growing.
4. Who has had the most influence on your STEAM practice? Who inspires you?
Besides my students (because that is a given) I would have to say my peers. I am not a very creative person, and have always struggled with that while teaching, so I constantly turn to my peers. They push my simple ideas to be more creative, always listen when I am brainstorming new projects, and share different things that they do in their own classroom. I absolutely love having such a large family of teachers who I can turn to whenever I need anything.
5. What’s your favorite “Maker” movie?
My favorite “maker” movie would have to be The Martian. I love how he uses technology and science to survive long enough to make it home. I read the book and loved the movie, I thought it was a perfect movie for geeks and non-geeks alike.
Thanks again Sara! We’ll look for you on Twitter at @MsGeekyTeach
Join Sara as she moderates #Tynkerchat for us this Monday.