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K-12 Technology

Dec 01, 2021 2021-12-01

STEM • STEAM • STREAM

SPOTLIGHT! On Advocating for Equity in Computer Science

Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek) is being celebrated around the world from December 6 to 12, 2021, as a way to promote computer science across the enterprise with students, families, educators, businesses, and communities. During CSEdWeek, educators and families are encouraged to organize an Hour of Code to recognize the importance of inspiring students of all ages to better understand computer science and coding concepts, and advocate for equity. Here is a sampling of resources and events to help guide participation in CSEdWeek.

Virtual Event Exposing Youth of Diverse Backgrounds to Computer Science
Founded in 2020 by then 16-year-old Ian Michael Brock, Dream Hustle Code is a computer science and education program geared toward students of diverse backgrounds to spark an interest in coding.

Teen Tech LIVE is Dream Hustle Code’s free virtual event that brings together thousands of youth aged 13 up, from hundreds of schools across America, for an engaging tech-/gaming-centered educational experience featuring celebrity guest appearances and interviews, tech demos, real-time virtual contests, and a gaming tournament, with thousands of dollars in prizes, including a Teacher Prize of $1,000, and more.

Teen Tech LIVE’s goal is to create an opportunity for more teens from underserved and underrepresented communities across the United States to see themselves in tech while seriously considering the new career possibilities that await them. The virtual event will take place on Friday, December 10, 2021, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (CT). After registering, participants will receive the event link via email during the week of December 6.

Coding Activity Altering Major Historical Moments of Human Achievement
Minecraft Education Edition has released “Timecraft,” a new, free Hour of Code lesson that engages students in learning basic coding concepts while correcting “mysterious mishaps” throughout history. Players connect with great innovators and inventors in science, architecture, music, engineering, and other disciplines, exploring major moments in human achievement, while using coding to save the future. Students can work with code blocks or Python to complete their mission.

During the lesson, students practice computer science concepts such as sequences, events, loops, and debugging, and analyze and problem-solve using algorithmic thinking and problem decomposition.

Educator resources include an introductory video, an educator guide, student-facing presentation slides, coding solutions, extension activities for integrated computer science lesson plans, and Kahoot quizzes.

“Timecraft” is available in three different modes: one for in-class with a teacher facilitator, another for in-class as a self-guided experience, and a third for virtual learning. Each mode requires different levels of teacher support and modification for student success and participation.

Interactive Game Introducing Young Children to Computer Science
Orbie’s Space Walk is an interactive programming game designed for K–2 students by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education. The game not only introduces young children to computer programming but also promotes standards-based learning. Children program a robot named “Orbie” to walk in space, picking up spheres along the way. For Orbie to pick up a sphere, students need to answer a content-specific question correctly.

The game’s categories include Numbers, Life Science, Earth Science, and Engineering. Each category consists of standards-based questions written by elementary school teachers. The questions are of varying difficulty levels. On the first level, children are asked low-difficulty questions. As they progress through each level, the questions become more challenging. If students answer a question incorrectly, a hint pops up, and Orbie returns to the start of the level. After they complete a category, students are directed to a certificate page.

The critical thinking and problem solving skills that students use to “program” Orbie to walk the course set the foundation for them to tackle more advanced coding and programming language as they get older.

Inclusive Computer Science Education for Early Learners
Apple now offers coding resources for learners from kindergarten to college and challenges them to design apps that are inclusive and accessible to users.

Everyone Can Code Early Learners is designed to introduce students to coding in their early years through engaging and often off-screen activities that will help children discuss, discover, and play to build a foundation in core coding concepts through subjects that include science, art, music, and physical education. Coding is taught through different mediums such as dance and movement. Everyone Can Code Early Learners is available as a free download for educators and families.

Plus: During Computer Science Education Week, December 6–12, 2021, Apple is encouraging educators and their students to participate in the introductory Inclusive App Design activity. This new lesson will help educators guide students through a one-hour session to turn their ideas into apps with inclusion and accessibility in mind. The app design process helps students identify problems they care about and then plan, prototype, and code creative solutions. It helps students think critically about how to build apps that are inclusive for all and prepares them to be the innovators of tomorrow. The event will take place on December 7, from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. (CT) and from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. (CT).

Computer Science/Coding/Programming Diversity/Equity/Inclusion STEM • STEAM • STREAM

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