Dec 14

Wrapping up the 2017 CS Ed Week

Stephanie Rodriguez and a student at Tubman Elementary participate in the Hour of Code on December 6

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:

Here’s a look at a few highlights from the week!

Launch event with corporate partners on December 4 kicked of CS Ed Week with a launch event that featured female technology powerhouses, including Melinda Gates and Sheryl Sandberg, offering words of wisdom and inspiration for all kids to pursue opportunities in computing. In celebration of the 2017 CS Ed Week, and the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) announced their inaugural Champions for Computer Science. We were thrilled to see that the value of afterschool CS was recognized within the winners of their “organization” category! Alexandra Liggins, co-founder of South Bend Code School, accepted the award, which recognized the great work their out-of-school time program does in bringing computer science learning to students age 7 to 18 across Indiana.

Creative computing webinar on December 6

The Afterschool Alliance hosted the webinar “Tools, ideas, and strategies for creative computing in afterschool” which featured firsthand advice and examples from the field to support afterschool computer science. Check out our webinar recap or watch the full recording to learn tips on choosing tools and developing curricula and see a model for family engagement called “Family Creative Learning” from leading experts Sarah Carter of SciGirls and Ricarose Roque of the University of Colorado, Boulder. 

Congressional App Challenge and CS equity on December 7

On Thursday, 190 members of congress across 42 states announced their District Winners of the Congressional App Challenge. More than 4,100 students participated in regional competitions and submitted more than 1,270 students-created apps, some of which were developed with the support of out-of-school time programs. One young developer from Zionsville High School, IN-05, even created a solution for his peers to find the best afterschool club for their personal interests and availability.

CS Ed Week would be incomplete without an intentional focus on equity and solutions to reach #CSforALL. The Afterschool Alliance and many other computer science education leaders participated in the #CSequity Tweetchat hosted by the National Girls Collaborative and the National Center for Women and Information Technology in the evening of December 7. The conversation touched on topics such as inclusive curriculum, role models and representation, techniques for attracting a diversity of students, and how parents and educators can build their own confidence in computer science. See the Storify summary here!

Hour of Code at Tubman Elementary

All week long, folks across the world celebrated CS Ed Week, and many did so by participating in an Hour of Code. In Washington, D.C., 5th graders from the Harriet Tubman Elementary School TechClub worked on their coding skills by selecting the Hour of Code activity that they were most interested in. Employees from Accenture, Afterschool Alliance, and the National Science Foundation volunteered their time and quadrupled the staff capacity of the TechClub to provide a nearly one-to-one ratio of volunteers to students for the day.

When asked about the motivation for starting the TechClub at Tubman, and engaging in Hour of Code, 5th grade teacher and Tech Club Sponsor Ms. Victoria Rowe said, “As a blended learning teacher, I was motivated to start Tech Club to provide our students with increased access and exposure to technology and computer science. I personally do not have a computer science background, so much of my experience has been learning alongside my students and talking with them about their interests and motivations.”

Daniel, one of the 5th grade students participating in TechClub at Tubman, had a few words to say about his experience in the Hour of Code. Proudly showing off his high score at Level 12, he said, “I loved it! It was very fun! It was adventurous and I really liked it. I want to do it again!”