The nation’s largest school districts are rushing to fill the coding gap

[Across the country schools are looking for ways to integrate computational thinking into their academic programs. In this PBS article there are some great examples. In Western Pennsylvania the South Fayette School District has developed a K-12 articulated curriculum. This year South Fayette is offering a STEAM Innovation Summer Institute that includes workshops on Scratch, Python, and AppInventor, all tools used in the district. What’s so different is that the AppInventor and Python courses have been developed by students. ]

BY MICHAEL D. REGAN  May 21, 2016

Sabrina Knight’s second-grade students at a Brooklyn public school receive lessons in coding. Some school districts in the United States are attempting to expand computer science education while the Obama administration is pushing to bring the subject to every public school in the nation. Michael D. Regan/PBS NewsHour

Sabrina Knight’s second-grade students at a Brooklyn public school receive lessons in coding. Some school districts in the United States are attempting to expand computer science education while the Obama administration is pushing to bring the subject to every public school in the nation. Michael D. Regan/PBS NewsHour

On a recent Friday afternoon at a Brooklyn public school, the children of Sabrina Knight’s second-grade class listened intently as she used a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to talk about algorithms.

Moments later, a student volunteer walked back and forth across the room to demonstrate looping, a technical term used in the field of computer programming.

“Thumbs up if you got it,” Knight said, as a flurry of 7- and 8-year-old hands and thumbs shot up in the air. “Open up your computers and thumbs up when you see the blue screen.”

Students grabbed their headphones and flipped open yellow laptops issued to Park Slope’s PS 282. The rest of the lesson would be devoted to coding, as the class of 15 used simple equations to command cartoon characters to move across their monitors.

Knight’s young class is one in a growing number of public schools across the United States that are introducing computer science education into their curricula, in part to make up for the educational disparities among female and minority students that contribute to a professional void in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Such gaps have been recognized at the federal level. In January, President Barack Obama announced he would push to introduce a $4 billion initiative called Computer Science For All, which seeks to bring computer science education to many of the nation’s public schools over the next decade. Negotiations for the program’s budget are ongoing on Capitol Hill.

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The Maker Movement Isn’t Just About Making and Electronics

[Mitch Resnick, MIT Professor and head of the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab,  has been a leader in the world of student voice and computational thinking. Here’s an interview with him as part of an Edsurge article.]

By Mary Jo Madda May 23, 2016

Photo of educators at Play - PAEYC unconference - Photo by Norton Gusky CC BY 4.0

Photo of educators at Play – PAEYC unconference – Photo by Norton Gusky CC BY 4.0

Mitchel Resnick (or Mitch, for short) knows his making—from a lot of different angles. And he’s not too bought into the whole “electronics and gadgets” side of the maker movement.

Resnick has been in this business for more than 30 years, and it’s safe to say that he’s seen the maker movement—and the state of STEM education, in general—go through its phases, its ups and downs. He’s currently the LEGO Papert Professor of Learning Research and head of the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab, where he and his team have developed products familiar to many a science educator: the “programmable brick” technology that inspired the LEGO Mindstorms robotics kit, andScratch, an online computing environment for students to learn about computer science.

Is making something that every school should be doing—and are all interpretations of “making” of equitable value? EdSurge sat down with Resnick in his office at the MIT Media Lab to learn more, and to find out how he and his team are working to bring more creativity into the learning process.

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Bloxels Merges Physical And Digital Play With Game Design

Bloxels, a unique combination of hands-on game board development and digital game design, has debuted for families and classrooms.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.educationnews.org

Here’s a toolset that can open the door for younger learners to begin to investigate game design.

See on Scoop.itUsing Technology to Transform Learning