Maya Israel recently contributed an article as a guest blogger on the Teacher Community blog of Code.org, a nonprofit organization that works to expand computer science in schools and increase participation in the field by women and underrepresented students of color. In her piece, Israel shared how students with disabilities fit into the Computer Science for All initiative by the White House.
Unit 4 teachers, MSTE staff, and College of Education faculty and students are working together to bring computing to all grades and all students. Kenwood Elementary School teachers have been collaborating with MSTE staff, other University of Illinois faculty & staff, and community members for several years through CTRL-Shift. As a result of these collaborations, Kenwood adopted a school-wide coding initiative three years ago and Kenwood teachers are now writing new curriculum with support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) STEM+C initiative. They are developing new learning modules that embed computer science instruction within the Everyday Mathematics curricula currently used at the school. Everyday Mathematics was developed at the University of Chicago, which is a partner on the grant.
Monday night, October 27, was one of the great pay-off moments for CTRL-Shift. After two years of collaboration among Champaign Unit 4 Schools, MSTE, Computer Science,Library Science, local entrepreneurs, and community members, we had a chance to publicly demonstrate some of the great educational outcomes stemming from these efforts!
A group of Kenwood Elementary Schoolstudents stood before the Unit 4 School Board and shared their computational thinking skills. They used the interactive whiteboard, their Chromebooks, and good ‘ole pencil and paper to show computer science – unplugged and on the computer. There were plenty of “ooh”s and “aah”s. And it may be the first time that anyone has described a school board meeting as “fun!”
Check out the pictures and videos below to get a sense of the palpable enthusiasm at the board meeting. If you were there, feel free to chime in in the comments section to let us know what you thought. And of course, we’re always excited to hear from you on Twitter! You can reach us on Twitter at @ctrlshiftCU.
Pictures from the board meeting:
A female student shows 2 board members her computer program on a Chromebook
A board member looks on as a female student shows her project on a laptop
3 board members and 2 students work on a project at a SMART board
3 board members and 2 students contemplate how to complete a coding challenge at a whiteboard
6 board members all down a long table work individually with students on laptops
Video from the board meeting:
Champaign Unit 4 released a new video highlighting their work with the University of Illinois, emphasizing the computational thinking project with Kenwood Elementary School. You can see some of the collaborators in the CTRL-Shift group and hear the excitement they have for this new dimension of education in our schools. Check it out and let us know what you think!