Teaching coding and design can lead to tech literacy

Technology is ubiquitous in the lives of today’s students. As technology users, students access technology for entertainment, communication, and learning. Tech literacy, which has become as essential as reading, writing, and arithmetic in preparing students for the future, encourages students to move beyond the role of technology consumers to becoming technology creators.

Encouraging technology creators means engaging students in project-based technology courses that introduce them to coding, design, gaming, and animation. And as students complete projects such as developing an app, creating a 3D video game, or designing a collection, they gain relevant, hands-on experience using industry-standard tools professionals use. Students apply creativity, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills–competencies that are important in preparing students for the future and are applicable to any career, whether it’s in technology or not.

While states are adding computer science as a requirement for high school graduation, fewer than half of K–12 public schools are able to offer technology courses. For Wautoma High School in rural Wautoma, Wisconsin, adding technology courses to the high school offering afforded equity of access to an online solution that would otherwise be prohibitive to a smaller district.…Read More

imagiLabs raises $300k pre-seed to further bridge the gender gap in coding

imagiLabs (www.imagilabs.com), the all-female founded startup that makes coding more accessible to young girls, has raised $300k (€250k) in pre-seed funding, allowing it to further equip the next generation of working women with critical coding skills.

Angel investors participating in the round include Eros Resmini, Founder & Managing Partner at The Mini Fund and the former CMO of messaging platform Discord; David Baszucki, CEO of gaming giant Roblox; members of Atomico’s Angel Program; and Propel Capital, the investment arm of Stockholm’s leading tech incubator Sting. 

A number of high profile proponents of gender equality in technology participated in the round. The financing will be used to maintain imagiLabs’ significant international growth and to continue to foster an engaged community of young girl coders, who use the imagiLabs apps to learn from each other, share coding tips and designs, and build relationships.…Read More

Learning through gaming

When students are so deeply engaged in a task that they can’t wait to dive in — and at the same time, they’re learning fundamental skills that are critical for their success — it’s a magical combination.

That’s what a lucky group of 20 students at Horace Mann UCLA Community School are about to experience as they take part in an innovative afterschool program. The students will practice and reflect on 21st century skills such as problem solving, communication, and teamwork as they compete against each other in the popular online video game League of Legends.

A partnership between UCLA and the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), Mann is a public school serving students in grades 6-12. As director of the UCLA Community Schools Initiative, Dr. Christine Shen serves as a liaison between the school and the university. Her typical day consists of interacting with others and solving problems, and so she knows firsthand the value of these skills.…Read More

CCS Presentation Systems Launches First Ever Esports Demonstration Center

CCS Presentation Systems, one of the largest audio-video systems integration companies in the US, just announced the creation of a fully-functioning Esports Demonstration Center at its Scottsdale, AZ corporate headquarters. It provides customers with a working demonstration of every component of an esports facility – game play, audience presentation, streaming and more.

“This Esports Demo Center was purpose-built for our education customers. It includes everything necessary for school teams to be successful in this competitive sport,” said Julie Solomon, Chief Marketing Officer for CCS. “Esports gaming has very specific equipment standards. Facilities need to mimic each other as much as possible or players will be at a disadvantage during competition.”

The Extreme-eCampus News Worldwide Esports Survey found that 21% of schools already have an esports program and that over 70% of K12 schools are now considering introducing competitive gaming to their curriculum. Currently, there are more than 200 colleges and universities offering nearly $15 million in scholarships to high school students to join their esports programs.…Read More

5 ways esports levels the playing field for all students

An interactive experience that literally knows no boundaries, esports draws on the use of multiplayer video gaming to create engaging, educational experiences for participants. By breaking down barriers that exist in the traditional sports setting, enabling a diverse set of individuals to participate, and incorporating complex subjects like math and science, esports is taking both in-classroom and remote learning to new levels.

The latter is especially critical right now, during an era where schools not only had to finish out the 2019-20 school year in a virtual setting, but where the upcoming year still hangs in the balance for many.

Related content: How esports changed my school…Read More

Education will play a bigger part of TikTok

Bryan Thoensen, who oversees content partnerships at TikTok, said that during the coronavirus pandemic TikTok is seeing people not only spending more time watching videos but also experimenting with the creation of different types of content, including in sports, gaming, cooking, fashion, and beauty. TikTok users are already doing more than just dancing and lip-syncing on the video app.

“It’s not just music. It’s, you know, all these different formats, from cooking to Q&A…” Thoensen said.

Read more at cnet.com…Read More

App of the Week: Drawing games for learning

Ed. noteApp of the Week picks are now being curated by the editors of Common Sense Education, which helps educators find the best ed-tech tools, learn best practices for teaching with tech, and equip students with the skills they need to use technology safely and responsibly. Click here to read the full app review.

What’s It Like? 

Adventure Time Game Wizard is an iOS and Android app set in the universe of Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time show. The high production value is quickly apparent with fluid animations and great-sounding audio, including the show’s voice actors. There are three main modes: Play, Create, and Arcade. Play brings you through the game’s story, switching between five characters from the show. This is classic platformer action akin to Super Mario Brothers; the on-screen character runs and jumps to collect coins and power-ups while avoiding or attacking enemies. Coins collected in Play mode are used to unlock extra enemies, backgrounds, and other items for Create mode.…Read More

App of the Week: Gorgeous game brings students into Thoreau’s world

Ed. noteApp of the Week picks are now being curated by the editors of Common Sense Education, which helps educators find the best ed-tech tools, learn best practices for teaching with tech, and equip students with the skills they need to use technology safely and responsibly. Click here to read the full app review.

What’s It Like? 

Walden, a game is a simulation of Thoreau’s grand experiment to live in solitude for a couple of years on Walden Pond. Students assume the role of Thoreau (in first person) and experience the seasons at Walden over about six hours of play, collecting bits and pieces (represented as arrowheads) of Thoreau’s writing as they go. It works for both those familiar with games and those not. For students more into games, there’s a working simulation in place that can be explored and understood akin to the popular “survival” genre of games. For students who might not play many games, these systems are relatively forgiving, and it’s possible to just focus on the writings and philosophies of Thoreau — often offered with voice-over narration.…Read More

Video of the Week: Discover the learning in ANY game

Ed. note: Video of the Week picks are supplied by the editors of Common Sense Education, which helps educators find the best ed-tech tools, learn best practices for teaching with tech, and equip students with the skills they need to use technology safely and responsibly. Click here to watch the video at Common Sense Education.

Video Description: Every game has potential for learning. Consider the educational value in some of the more popular, entertainment-focused games that your students (and you!) already enjoy at home. Of course, not all games are school-appropriate, but you can approach any game from an educational perspective. Think of games as experiences rather than instruction–as field trips, not textbooks. It’s a perspective that’s as valuable for students as it is for teachers. To learn more about using games in the classroom, visit our collection, Find the Learning in Any Game.

Video:…Read More

5 ways educational games improve learning, according to teachers

When teachers used digital educational games in the classroom, students raised test scores by more than half a letter grade in only three weeks, according to a study from researchers at Vanderbilt University and partners at Legends of Learning, a research-driven educational game platform.

The new research, published by the Journal of the Learning Sciences, demonstrates the benefits of game-based learning for students when compared to students who had no access to such games.

Substantial Integration of Typical Educational Games into Extended Curricula” involved more than 1,000 students of 13 teachers in 10 diverse urban, suburban and rural schools in seven states.…Read More