The eSchool Media K-12 Hero Awards, sponsored by Trox, highlights inspiring examples of education during the COVID-19 pandemic.

How one educator made computer science a “must” during COVID

The eSchool Media K-12 Hero Awards, sponsored by Trox, highlights inspiring examples of education during the COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic is far from over, and that means educators across the globe are still finding inventive and innovative ways to support and teach students in classrooms, during hybrid instruction, and in virtual settings.

The eSchool Media K-12 Hero Awards program, sponsored by Trox, recognizes the determined and dedicated efforts of educators throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Never before have educators been challenged and tested as they were, beginning in March 2020 and up until today, and never before has their resilience been more apparent. Administrators, technology leaders, classroom teachers, and educators in all roles have persevered as they taught each and every one of their students during a global pandemic.

Here, eSchool News highlights Nick Baskwill–one of its K-12 Hero Awards finalists. Keep reading to discover how this educator keeps learning going in the middle of a global pandemic.

Nominee: Nick Baskwill

Nominated by: Unruly Studios

What makes this nominee a hero?

Nick Baskwill works with hundreds of elementary, middle, and high schools across Nova Scotia to drive technology integration and the adoption of innovative tools for tech and computer science education. Since 2015, when the government mandated that computer science be integrated into grades K-8, Nick has spearheaded the adoption of computer science education across classrooms including with robots, microcontrollers, and block-based coding apps like Scratch. He understands how to introduce tools that make the subject feel relevant and approachable for both students and teachers, who often have never coded before themselves.

At the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year, Nick ran a pilot with Unruly Splats, a STEM learning tool that combines learning to code with active play. He ultimately helped 50 schools across Nova Scotia implement Unruly Splats to code and play games during in-person and remote learning and across subject areas including PE, math, and music.

Nick accomplished this impressive roll-out during a pandemic that continued to cause disruption to the regular school calendar through the end of the school year. He had to get creative to integrate computer science in a way that took into account periods of remote learning, challenges with student engagement, and teacher capacity for trying new things in the midst of uncertainty.

Nick demonstrates an infectious passion for technology and a deep understanding of how to drive adoption of innovative tech tools that enhance the curriculum students are learning on a daily basis.

Some of Nick’s top tips for technology integration include:

– First, conduct a pilot with invested teachers you know are excited about new technology and will give honest feedback.

– Provide training at the beginning and throughout implementation to ensure teachers feel supported and confident. This may include group onboardings, webinars, PD sessions, lesson plans, and prebuilt examples.

– Identify an objective goal that you can measure for success. For example, 80% use in schools throughout the period of your trial.

– Find ways to integrate the same learning tools in a cross-curricular manner to drive more student engagement and teacher buy-in.

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Laura Ascione

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