Mumbai: Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) (BSE: 532540, NSE: TCS) a leading global IT services, consulting and business solutions organization, announced that its Ignite My Future in School (IMFIS) STEM/computer science education program — which was created in partnership with Discovery Education, the global leader in K-12 digital resources and professional learning — surpassed its five year goal of reaching one million U.S. K-12 students, a full year ahead of schedule. The pioneering program empowers educators to teach computational thinking, which are the critical skills that help students solve real-life problems and challenges by expressing them in a way that computers can solve.
In the wake of COVID-19, TCS moved the IMFIS program to a 100 percent virtual format, helping improve equity and access to high-quality digital content for educators and students, specifically those from under resourced communities. TCS will continue growing its investment to bring IMFIS to every student and educator in the U.S. and abroad, while focusing on supporting disconnected and marginalized student populations and empowering girls in STEM. Beyond the U.S., the virtual program is now enabled to be rapidly adopted by educators in more than 70 countries in response to the growing global interest in computational thinking resources to engage students.
Launched in September 2017, the program has now empowered nearly 20,000 teachers and 1.1 million students across 353 school districts, across all 50 U.S. states. The top 10 states for classroom adoption are California, Texas, New York, Virginia, Florida, North Carolina, Georgia, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. Educators across core subjects use lessons such as Build a movement, where students learn how data and algorithms impact something that ‘goes viral’; Outbreak, where students analyze how a virus spreads and can be contained; and Emoji Essay, where students use abstraction to explore language and communication.
“As a purpose-driven enterprise, at TCS we believe that it is our responsibility to make a lasting societal impact in local communities where we work and live,” said Surya Kant, Chairman of North America, TCS. “We are grateful to educators across the country for their efforts to adopt this new approach to teaching and learning. As we rebuild for a post-COVID-19 economy, these million young Americans and more will apply computational thinking skills to chart a new course for our nation and society.”
“Ignite My Future in School impacted students in my classrooms by providing authentic learning experiences that challenged my students to use computational thinking skills to solve real world problems,” said Jenna Rosienski, Assistant Principal – Franklin Middle School, Janesville, WS. “The program helps my district by bringing teachers together to engage transdisciplinary lessons for our students and evaluate their current content and practices to ultimately change how and what we teach and learn with students through the hands on and engaging lessons that IMFIS provides.”
While computational thinking has been core to the advancement of computing in the 20th century, visionaries like Seymour Papert (1980) and more recently Jeanette Wing (2006) have illustrated the need for broader adoption as a foundational skill for all students. TCS envisioned the first-of-its-kind STEM/computer science education program with a mission to make computational thinking accessible to every student and educator. Ignite My Future brought this vision to life by adopting a transdisciplinary approach and integrating computational thinking concepts into all core subjects, including math, science, language arts, and social studies.
Computing occupations make up 67 percent of all projected new jobs in STEM fields and there are more than 500,000 open computing jobs in the U.S., according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics employment projections. However, the 2020 State of Computer Science Education: Illuminating Disparities study found that only 45 percent of high schools in the U.S. currently teach computer science.
Ignite My Future combines the best of digital content, lesson plans, career vignettes, and professional learning to help teachers prepare students for future careers. The program offers educators instructional resources and year-round curriculum support to help students obtain the necessary skills required for 21st century careers across all industries. A core part of the program are the 246 educators in the U.S. and globally who have joined hands to create the IMFIS Learning Leaders Network, a free teacher driven community of like-minded individuals who share resources to improve everyday student experiences.
Furthermore, the IMFIS annual Ignite Innovation Student Challenge has seen students innovate to solve community problems such as early wildfire detection, early diagnosis of opioid addiction, food security, accessibility, personal health, and digital mentoring. There is now a rising trend of mainstream adoption of computational thinking, with institutions such as the National Science Foundation, International Society for Technology in Education, and the Association of Computing Machinery leading the way.