PW Stem Curriculum Updates


James Chang

Gears, math, test tubes, all the most recognizable parts of STEM.

Rohan Parasnis, Science & Tech Writer

ChatGPT, to many, appears to mark the start of a new age of technology — one that is dominated not by humans, but by artificial intelligence. But in reality, ChatGPT is just one step on a road that mankind has been walking down for the last decade. As more aspects of our everyday life are engulfed by computing, Pinewood has begun an initiative to overhaul its own computer science and engineering program. Computer science teacher Haggai Mark is leading the charge to improve Pinewood’s program and to ensure that it provides students with the skills and the mindset that they need in order to succeed in this new technologically adept world.

For the last few years, Pinewood’s Middle Campus has been enjoying their high-tech maker space, fully equipped with 3D printers, computers, and more. Just last year, a similar space was added to Upper Campus next to the Student Achievement Center (SAC). 

“The end goal is really to have a much stronger, streamlined program for computer science and engineering,” Mark said.  

To achieve this goal, Pinewood is planning on creating more dedicated rooms for maker spaces, computer labs, and engineering classrooms when they acquire a new campus. These spaces will allow students to explore technology and engineering in a hands-on fashion. For example, a more in-depth robotics lab is a potential space that will be added.

As for updating current courses, Mark says that the biggest challenge is to coordinate between departments, as computing and technology have become increasingly important in a wide range of fields. 

   “Because we see engineering pervading multiple fields of education, we have to coordinate between different departments to implement changes and update the courses,” Mark said. “This makes things a bit more difficult.”

One of the new courses that Pinewood will be offering in the coming year is Data Science. This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of how computing can be applied to other areas of life. 

 “The idea with this [course] is that students who are interested in applying computing to other areas of life can take this class,” Mark said.

The course’s main focus will be to develop important skills that will be valuable throughout students’ lives regardless of the field they choose to pursue. Mark believes that data management, for instance, is a core skill that many students will be able to use throughout their lives.

Overall, Mark is excited about the future of the computer science and engineering program at Pinewood. 

“Whatever you do in your life, you are going to do computing in one aspect of your career, and you couldn’t have said that thirty years ago,” Mark said.