According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2020 there will be one million more computer science-related jobs than graduating students qualified to fill them. Ignite My Future in Schools (IMFIS) aims to change that by equipping today’s students—and tomorrow’s workforce—with the training and resources to think computationally. With a goal of reaching one million students in 5 years, the program aims to provide computer science training where it is lacking to prepare a skilled labor force, but also to transform the approach to problem-solving.
To reinforce instruction that reinforces computational thinking (CT), Discovery Education and TATA Consultancy Services developed teacher resources based on CT strategies (collect data, analyze data, find patterns, decompose problems, abstract, build models, develop algorithms). IMFIS's resources are unique because they are transdisciplinary, wherein computational thinking (CT) is imbedded into lessons for Social Studies, English Language Arts, Music, Physical Education, Math and Science.
The objective is to show that CT is a fundamental skill for everyone—not just for computer scientists—and enhances analytical abilities among educators and students across all subjects and disciplines. CT is a problem-solving process that equips learners with essential skills for deciphering real-world systems and solving complex problems.
Tata Consultancy Services and Discovery Education joined forces to launch Ignite My Future in Schools (IMFIS), an initiative to transform the way students across America learn and apply computational thinking, a foundational 21st-century skill for successful careers in every sector. IMFIS employs its 40+ CT learning resources to build student and teacher relationships with the CT thought model. The program offers strategies for analyzing and developing solutions to digital and social problems through initiatives like the Ignite Innovation Student Challenge, a student group project to develop digital solutions to real-world community challenges; Days of Discovery, a professional networking opportunity to connect educators and community members with instructional strategies; and TECHademy Webinars, thought leadership videos that share insight into the role of CT in modern instruction.
In October 2019, IMFIS launched the second edition of Ignite Innovation Student Challenge. Students in grades 6-8 were encouraged to use computational thinking to create digital solutions that improve the world and solve problems impacting TCS' three social responsibility pillars: Our Planet, Health, and Education.
TECHademy is an immersive professional learning experience for school districts across the country. In addition to the suite of resources available on IMFIS, TECHademy participants receive support through a series of touchpoints. One of those touchpoints is TECHademy's Days of Discovery. Educators and thought leaders are invited to a day of immersive professional development. TECHademy participants learn from leaders at the forefront of computational thinking about the tools they need to build a successful transdisciplinary environment for today's students.
Since September of 2017, Discovery Education has raised visibility and boosted engagement with the IMFIS resources, resulting in thousands of resource downloads and an estimated student reach of over 500,000, surpassing the halfway point of their goal to reach one million students by 2021. In-person professional development has reached more than 5,100 educators across the country who have obtained over 575 micro-certifications through completion of the self-placed, e-learning modules for the eight computational thinking strategies.
On a national level, Ignite My Future in School has a goal of engaging 20,000 teachers and one million US students by 2021. Since the program’s launch, it has reached more than 9,000 teachers and nearly 550,000 students in 100+ school districts across all 50 states.