How esports promotes inclusion and belonging

I grew up a casual gamer, half-decent at a few games like ‘Yoshi’s Island’ and ‘Rush.’ The most intense PC games I ever played were ‘Minesweeper’ and ‘Frogger.’ Esports and gaming weren’t something I thought would be a major part of my career.

Had you told high school me that I would be a computer science and information technology teacher, she would have not believed you. On top of that, to tell high school me that she would be heavily involved in growing esports throughout the state of Utah, and she would have audibly laughed at you. Seriously–gaming was not on my radar AT ALL. 

But let me tell you how esports found me–and why I’m so happy it did.…Read More

How this teacher uses story coding to spark creativity and collaboration

When coding merges with storytelling, you have story coding, in which students use computational skills and design thinking as they demonstrate creativity across core curricular areas.

During an ISTELive 22 virtual session, computer science, robotics, and design thinking educator Paige Besthoff demonstrated how story coding–combining storytelling and coding–helps students develop critical skills.

Story coding involves using computer programming to retell stories–students might summarize a story, write original stories, or use programming to create alternative endings to well-known stories. Teachers can use story coding to bring history, science, world languages, ELA, and even math into their lessons.…Read More

Computer Science professor honored with teaching excellence award

June 2, 2022, Blue Bell/Pottstown, Pa.— For over two decades, Dr. Kendall Martin has been introducing her students at Montgomery County Community College to a new superpower you won’t find inside the pages of a comic book. The Computer Science professor has helped them discover the full potential of technology that surrounds them and learn to use it ways they never dreamed possible, changing their lives forever.

In a classic example, one former student told Dr. Martin she believed she was destined to spend her life working as a beautician in a hair salon before taking a Computer Science course.

“Everybody in her family said ‘You’re no good at technology. That’s for your brother. Why don’t you go learn to do hair?’” said Dr. Martin of Lansdale. “And now she’s at Lockheed Martin, working as a computer programmer. So, you can start to see yourself in a different light and see a different future for yourself. Once you see you can be taught how to do these things, then you own it. It’s your superpower and you can use it however you want. That can be a life-changing moment.”…Read More

VHS Learning’s New Flexible Courses Expand Student Options for Online Course Enrollment

Boston – May 12, 2022 – Scheduling flexibility is frequently cited by students and teachers as a major benefit of working with VHS Learning’s asynchronous online courses. Starting in August, students will be able to take advantage of an even more flexibly paced course format.

The new Flexible course model will be available for 16 courses beginning in the 2022-2023 academic year:

  • Algebra 1 Flexible
  • AP® Calculus AB Flexible
  • AP® Calculus BC Flexible
  • AP® Computer Science Principles Flexible
  • AP® Environmental Science Flexible
  • AP® Macroeconomics Flexible
  • AP® Microeconomics Flexible
  • AP® Music Theory Flexible
  • AP® Physics 1 Flexible
  • AP® Spanish Language and Culture Flexible
  • AP® Statistics Flexible
  • AP® United States Government Flexible
  • AP® United States History Flexible
  • English 9 Flexible
  • English 11 Flexible
  • Spanish 1 Flexible

Each Flexible course is self-paced, and teacher led. Courses begin on the first of every month from August through February (August through December for AP® courses). The courses will end at the completion of the school year, so later enrollees will progress through course material at a faster pace.…Read More

How to implement a districtwide K-12 computer science program

With recent research showcasing the growing number of STEM-related jobs that will be available to our graduates in Indiana in the coming years, teaching computer science skills has become as important as teaching students how to read or do math. The state has recognized this importance by mandating that all schools incorporate computer science for students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

As the career and STEM academy director for Barr-Reeve Community Schools, I helped our district integrate computer science into our K-12 students’ school days. Our program helps students develop essential skills for academic and professional success. I’ve learned a number of lessons along the way and hope districts across the nation can benefit from my experience.

Starting small…Read More

Moving forward: New concerns–and promises–for post-pandemic classrooms

In this week’s episode of Innovations in Education, hosted by Kevin Hogan:

…Read More

Why girls need more STEM role models

This story was originally published by Chalkbeat. Sign up for their newsletters at ckbe.at/newsletters.

My Advanced Placement computer science course is half girls and half boys. I coach an award-winning robotics team, Retro5ive, that is equally balanced between girls and boys, nearly all of whom are students of color.

Getting there requires combating gender norms and stereotypes every day. This fall, while conducting a two-week Tools and Build module with the robotics team, I held up a pop rivet gun and asked students what it was. Here’s a recap of an exchange between me, a boy who was learning about the team, and a few girls on the team.…Read More

How we created a computer science curriculum in 5 steps

Even with a strict budget, limited teacher expertise in computer science, and the chaos of a pandemic, the Metropolitan School District of Pike Township (MSDPT) launched a comprehensive and engaging K-5 computer science curriculum for every student.

As an instructional specialist at MSDPT during the launch, I now understand how much collaboration, clever resource management, and hard work are required to run a successful K-5 computer science program. 

As computer science has been launched into the national spotlight, schools across the country are finding ways to integrate STEM themes into early education. Although we faced challenges at MSDPT, we were able to find solutions that fit our budget and empowered our existing faculty to teach this specialized subject with confidence.…Read More

CoderZ launches CoderZ at Home

DERRY, N.H. –March 9, 2022: CoderZ Technologies LTD today announced the launch of CoderZ at Home, a new version of their award-winning code-learning platform that’s designed for homeschoolers and kids looking to learn code outside of a classroom environment. CoderZ at Home takes an integrative approach to code literacy — combining STEM, computer science, and critical life skills to prepare kids for the changing demands of a digital future.  The flexible new interface lets children self-lead through the learning material without any need for parental guidance. 

“Homeschooling and self-paced learning is on the rise all over the world. But learning to code in a home environment presents a unique set of challenges and opportunities,” said Sharon Duchin, Chief Marketing Officer at CoderZ. “In addition, preparing today’s kids for tomorrow’s careers is more challenging than ever with the rapid-fire development in technology. No one is entirely sure what jobs or obstacles 2050 will bring, but one thing is for certain: the role of STEM and computer science will be pivotal.”

By using bite-sized missions designed to feel like a game and blending maximum engagement with a sense of accomplishment, the platform enables learners to gain problem-solving skills quickly and measurably. “We’ve used our combined experience as educators, programmers, engineers, and gamers to create a learning environment that makes coding feel like a game for kids, while empowering them to develop problem-solving, critical thinking and grit skills,” Duchin continued. “Following months of research that includes insights from a pilot study with our target audience, we’re confident that CoderZ at Home delivers an engaging STEM learning experience that will spark kids’ passion for STEM and coding.”…Read More

5 steps to building a robust online CTE program

For more than 16 years, my goal has been to help students discover their passions and see their potential through career and technical education (CTE). From when I taught math and programming in a brick-and-mortar school, to creating and designing CTE courses, to teaching AP computer science and the foundations of programming at Florida Virtual School (FLVS), to now researching, developing, and maintaining the FLVS CTE program alongside my incredible colleagues, CTE has never been more important to me. 

You may be asking yourself, why are you so passionate about CTE? The short answer is that during my teaching career, I quickly learned that some students do not want to go to college. Rather than forcing them to do something that their skills sets, talents, and desires don’t align with, I encouraged them to explore their passions to see if they could turn it into a career later in life. All students deserve the opportunity to do what they love, and it’s our jobs, as educators, to help them get there. 

Additionally, according to the U.S. Department of Education, eight years after their expected graduation date, students who focused on career and technical education courses in high school had higher median annual earnings than students who did not. There are also 30 million jobs in the United States that do not require a bachelor’s degree that pay median earnings of $55,000 or more, further highlighting how CTE programs can set students up for success. …Read More