Webinar recap: Tools, ideas, and strategies for creative computing in afterschool

READ FULL STORY

Webinar recap: Tools, ideas, and strategies for creative computing in afterschool

Providing students with the tools and knowledge they need to become creators of technology, not just consumers, is a growing priority for afterschool programs across the country. Many are building from the ground up and running into issues like identifying technology, tools, and curricula to meet their goals. Additionally, it can be challenging to train and support facilitators—either afterschool educators or other community volunteers.

In our webinar on Wednesday, December 6, two inspiring speakers working on these issues presented insights and resources: Sarah Carter, from SciGirls, shared tips on choosing tools and developing curricula, and Ricarose Roque, of the University of Colorado, Boulder, shared her model for family engagement called Family Creative Learning. To get the full experience, watch the recording and view the presentation slides. Be sure to check out the hashtag #CSEdweek to see all the conversations happening on social media!

Getting clear on definitions and goals

There are a litany of terms used when talking about creating technology—"computer science," "coding" or "programming," "computing," "tech skills," "media literacy," and more! Our speakers told us that being specific and intentional about using these terms, particularly when defining your program’s focus and goals, is incredibly important. It is key to think about what’s most appropriate for the out-of-school time environment and ensure that we meet youth development or other philosophical goals.

For example, Sarah explained that the approach to her current project, SciGirls Code, is shaped by a blend of computational thinking and connected learning principles, and is founded on the SciGirls Seven, a set of research-based gender equity strategies. Ricarose has developed the concept of “Computational Creators”, which means the goal is for students is to be able to use computing to create things they care about, develop identities as creators, and see the ways they can shape the world. All educators should spend some time considering the vary approaches and frameworks out there to determine the best approach for their students and community needs.

Choosing technology with SciGirls Code

You might know SciGirls as the Emmy award-winning PBS television show that follows a group of middle school girls having STEM adventures. But it’s also an organization dedicated to gender equity in STEM, pursuing research, developing high-quality activities, and providing educator supports through SciGirls CONNECT. The 2018 season, debuting in Ferbuary, is all about computer science. SciGirls Code is currently piloting an initative with 16 afterschool programs around the country. As a first step, the team identified four key criteria in selecting technology for the pilot. Technology must be:

  1. Open-ended
  2. Come with existing/adaptable curriculum
  3. Have a robust user/learning community (which can help support both educators and students)
  4. Possibility for browser-based or mobile development environment

They landed on four focus areas, chosen in part because they aligned with the episodes in the upcoming SciGirls season. For each of these, they explored and tested multiple technologies and platforms:

  1. Computational thinking and unplugged activities – They landed on Code.org to focus on the key concepts of looping, sequences, and variables, and also pulled from the Technovation curriculum.
  2. App development or “location-based augmented reality” – They went with Thunkable, as it provided a robust learning community and offered an easier interface for girls to use.
  3. Robotics – Hummingbird Duo proved to be best option as it used Arduino, therefore providing some exposure before the next curricula unit…
  4. E-textiles – LilyPad was the choice for this theme, but Sarah also noted that you have to build in time to teach sewing, and provide a reminder for how circuits work. They used Chibitronics, which are stickers to create flexible circuits. The book, Sew Electric, was provided for all educators in the pilot.

Engaging caregivers with Family Creative Learning

Family Creative Learning is a workshop series that engages children and their parents to learn together — as designers and inventors — through the use of creative technologies. Ricarose has been leading the collaborative design of the workshops with educators and coordinators in schools and community organizations like Boys and Girls Clubs in the Boston, MA and in Santa Fe, NM areas. They are foremost designed to strengthen the social support and expertise of families with limited access to resources and experiences around computing. There are three key components to the workshops:

  1. Learning together - As they create together, families learn how to support one another in their learning from asking questions, giving feedback, and persevering through challenges.
  2. Engaging in making - Children and their parents engage in design-based activities using creative technologies, like Scratch and MaKey MaKey to create their own personally meaningful projects.
  3. Building connections - Children and parents also connect with other families, by sharing meals from local restaurants, engaging in inter-family activities, and sharing their projects.

You might choose to implement the Family Creative Learning series as a complement to ongoing computer science initiatives with students, or as a new way to ramp up your family engagement strategy! Whatever you do, here are Ricarose’s parting strategies:

  1. Focus on building relationships as much as building projects
  2. Allow parents to have first-hand experience
  3. Address the different needs of families
  4. Choose creative technologies that allow them to express their ideas and interests
  5. Shift from being instructors to being facilitators

This summary only captures a fraction of the conversation on the webinar, so make sure to watch the recording in it’s entirety and browse through the presentation slides!

Renewed commitments to computer science at CSforAll Summit

On October 8, computer science (CS) educators and advocates descended on Detroit, Michigan for the 2018 CSforALL Summit. As part of this year’s summit, a special one-day working session, entitled Mo’ Time for CS Education, was held to bring practitioners, advocates, researchers, and...

BY: Chris Neitzey      10/29/18

It’s not too late to sign up: Afterschool Lab Report October recap!

The next issue of the Afterschool Lab Report is coming this October. Brought to you each quarter by the Afterschool STEM Hub, a project of the Afterschool Alliance, the newsletter provides the latest STEM education policy updates, new resources, upcoming opportunities for advocacy, and new research...

BY: Leah Silverberg      10/23/18

New California “Kids Code” program to expand computer coding in afterschool

The Kids Code Pilot Program, which passed the California Legislature earlier this year and was championed by Assemblymember Kevin McCarty, will provide $15 million in funding over three years to expand access to coding in afterschool programs across the state. The pilot program will allow existing...

BY: Chris Neitzey      09/21/18

NSF awards funding for convening of afterschool STEM field

Over the last decade, the out-of-school time science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) field has expanded rapidly. We have seen substantial growth in not only the numbers of STEM programs, but in the diversity of programming offered. While the availability of a multitude of learning...

BY: Faith Savaiano      08/27/18

Start a Girls Who Code Club this fall!

Girls Who Code wants to work with you to provide your students with high-quality computer science resources! A national nonprofit organization, Girls Who Code is working to close the gender gap in computer science professions. The Girls Who Code afterschool curriculum is FREE to participating...

BY: Leah Silverberg      08/06/18

It’s not too late to sign up: Afterschool Lab Report recap!

The next issue of the Afterschool Lab Report is coming this July. Brought to you each quarter by the Afterschool STEM Hub, a project of the Afterschool Alliance, the newsletter provides the latest STEM education policy updates, new resources, upcoming opportunities for advocacy, and new research in...

BY: Leah Silverberg      07/24/18

Guest blog: Inspiring New Mexico’s Youth STEMbassador program

By Julie Hernandez, STEM Afterschool Expansion VISTA for New Mexico. Science introduced me to a world of possibilities. I see scientists as modern day explorers, discovering worlds we’ve never seen and providing answers to questions we didn’t even know to ask. Science also...

BY: Guest Blogger      07/09/18

From afterschool to electrician

Today, we shine a light on Colby Holmes from New Hope, Alabama. Then a senior in high school, Colby attended the 2017 Afterschool for All Challenge in Washington, D.C. and took the time to tell his story: how his afterschool program has inspired his future career in a STEM field and fueled his...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      05/11/18

Maker Mart in Roanoke puts the tools to learn in students’ hands

At the Maker Mart in Roanoke, Virginia, students in safety glasses guide hissing handsaws across two-by-fours of pale wood. At a work table nearby, drill bits peel out pencil-shavings from a tube of wood, opening up holes to fit the screws for a student’s new design – a handmade chair...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      04/13/18

Guest blog: 33 boys. Zero girls.

By Jothi Ramaswamy, founder and CEO of ThinkSTEAM. “33 boys. Zero girls.” Four words. That’s all it took to transform my 13 year old perspective on society. I was talking with my brother over dinner when he iterated this gender ratio in his undergraduate C++ coding...

BY: Guest Blogger      03/29/18

Education Innovation and Research grant provides opportunities for student apprenticeships

Eighteen new grantees were recently awarded Education Innovation and Research (EIR) grants from the Department of Education. Developed under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), EIR grants, which are inspired by the Investing in...

BY: Leah Silverberg      11/05/18

Renewed commitments to computer science at CSforAll Summit

On October 8, computer science (CS) educators and advocates descended on Detroit, Michigan for the 2018 CSforALL Summit. As part of this year’s summit, a special one-day working session, entitled Mo’ Time for CS Education, was held to bring practitioners, advocates, researchers, and...

BY: Chris Neitzey      10/29/18

New California “Kids Code” program to expand computer coding in afterschool

The Kids Code Pilot Program, which passed the California Legislature earlier this year and was championed by Assemblymember Kevin McCarty, will provide $15 million in funding over three years to expand access to coding in afterschool programs across the state. The pilot program will allow existing...

BY: Chris Neitzey      09/21/18

Start a Girls Who Code Club this fall!

Girls Who Code wants to work with you to provide your students with high-quality computer science resources! A national nonprofit organization, Girls Who Code is working to close the gender gap in computer science professions. The Girls Who Code afterschool curriculum is FREE to participating...

BY: Leah Silverberg      08/06/18

What the FY19 budget request does, and doesn’t do, for STEM learning

On February 12, the White House released its FY19 budget request. As expected, it reiterated much of the FY18 request, including deep cuts to and elimination of many discretionary programs. This year’s request was made more confusing due to the congressional budget deal reached just days...

BY: Stephanie Rodriguez      02/22/18

Stay informed about STEM with the Afterschool STEM Hub newsletter

Brought to you by the Afterschool STEM Hub, a project of the Afterschool Alliance, the Afterschool Lab Report is dedicated to continuously providing advocates with the tools they need to make the case for out-of-school time STEM learning. The Afterschool Lab Report is sent each quarter,...

BY: Leah Silverberg      01/22/18

Wrapping up the 2017 CS Ed Week

Computer Science Education Week (CS Ed Week) 2017 was an exciting time for the Afterschool Alliance and the CS education community at large. The Afterschool Alliance shared key resources for afterschool computer science throughout the week, including: “Connecting to computer science: A...

BY: Stephanie Rodriguez      12/15/17

Webinar recap: Tools, ideas, and strategies for creative computing in afterschool

Providing students with the tools and knowledge they need to become creators of technology, not just consumers, is a growing priority for afterschool programs across the country. Many are building from the ground up and running into issues like identifying technology, tools, and curricula to meet...

BY: Melissa Ballard      12/08/17

Promising practices: Hybrid tech/analog system grows STEM mentoring

During CS Ed Week, we wanted to highlight an initiative that pushes the envelope on excellence in computer science and STEM. Keshia Ashe, the co-founder and chief executiver officer of ManyMentors, sat down to talk about afterschool, STEM mentoring, and fostering the growth of underrepresented...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      12/07/17

New commitments to equity, engagement at the CSforALL Summit

“Power is the ability to write and author the American story… and that requires ambition to be nurtured; it requires the administration of an infrastructure that can do this.” These words come from Dr. Kamau Bobb of Georgia Institute of Technology, explaining how institutes of...

BY: Stephanie Rodriguez      10/20/17

Start a Girls Who Code Club this fall!

Girls Who Code wants to work with you to provide your students with high-quality computer science resources! A national nonprofit organization, Girls Who Code is working to close the gender gap in computer science professions. The Girls Who Code afterschool curriculum is FREE to participating...

BY: Leah Silverberg      08/06/18

Guest blog: Inspiring New Mexico’s Youth STEMbassador program

By Julie Hernandez, STEM Afterschool Expansion VISTA for New Mexico. Science introduced me to a world of possibilities. I see scientists as modern day explorers, discovering worlds we’ve never seen and providing answers to questions we didn’t even know to ask. Science also...

BY: Guest Blogger      07/09/18

Guest blog: 33 boys. Zero girls.

By Jothi Ramaswamy, founder and CEO of ThinkSTEAM. “33 boys. Zero girls.” Four words. That’s all it took to transform my 13 year old perspective on society. I was talking with my brother over dinner when he iterated this gender ratio in his undergraduate C++ coding...

BY: Guest Blogger      03/29/18

Storytelling & mentoring can bring STEM's Hidden Figures into the spotlight

By Allyson Kennedy, a scientist, educator, and STEM advocate. Allyson received her Ph.D. in Developmental Biology from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2016 and is now working to broaden participation in computing education through an AAAS Science and Technology Policy fellowship at the National...

BY: Guest Blogger      02/26/18

Webinar recap: Tools, ideas, and strategies for creative computing in afterschool

Providing students with the tools and knowledge they need to become creators of technology, not just consumers, is a growing priority for afterschool programs across the country. Many are building from the ground up and running into issues like identifying technology, tools, and curricula to meet...

BY: Melissa Ballard      12/08/17

Promising practices: Hybrid tech/analog system grows STEM mentoring

During CS Ed Week, we wanted to highlight an initiative that pushes the envelope on excellence in computer science and STEM. Keshia Ashe, the co-founder and chief executiver officer of ManyMentors, sat down to talk about afterschool, STEM mentoring, and fostering the growth of underrepresented...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      12/07/17

New commitments to equity, engagement at the CSforALL Summit

“Power is the ability to write and author the American story… and that requires ambition to be nurtured; it requires the administration of an infrastructure that can do this.” These words come from Dr. Kamau Bobb of Georgia Institute of Technology, explaining how institutes of...

BY: Stephanie Rodriguez      10/20/17

It’s not too late to sign up: Afterschool Lab Report recap!

The next issue of the Afterschool Lab Report is coming this July. Brought to you each quarter by the Afterschool STEM Hub, a project of the Afterschool Alliance, the newsletter provides the latest STEM education policy updates, new resources, upcoming opportunities for advocacy, and new research in...

BY: Leah Silverberg      07/24/18

Overdeck Family Foundation renews efforts to support STEM learning

Updated March 2 to include a quote from Overdeck Family Foundation Program Officier Brian Carter.  Advancing supportive afterschool policies, regardless of the focus area, requires a collaborative, multi-pronged approach. As such, we are delighted to continue our partnership...

BY: Stephanie Rodriguez      01/26/18

3 must-read articles from Connected Science Learning

Are you interested in collaborations that bridge out-of-school and in-school STEM learning? Check out the new peer-reviewed online journal, Connected Science Learning, a project from the National Science Teachers Association and the Association of Science-Technology Centers. Connected...

BY: Leah Silverberg      02/21/17

What are you doing for Computer Science Education Week?

This December 5-11, join the Afterschool Alliance in celebrating the importance of computer science education for all kids for the 2016 Computer Science Education Week. Planning an Hour of Code with your students and participating in our tweet chat is a great way to start! Plan an Hour of...

BY: Melissa Ballard      11/21/16