CS Discoveries

Event Description

Computer Science Discoveries is an introductory computer science course for 6 – 10th grade students. Mapped to CTSA standards, the course takes a wide lens on computer science by covering topics such as problem solving, programming, physical computing, user centered design, and data, while inspiring students as they build their own websites, apps, animations, games, and physical computing systems.

Program Information

The Learning Technology Center, in partnership with Code.org, are offering Computer Science Discoveries and Principles professional learning programs to Illinois educators at low or no cost to develop the capacity and expertise of computer science educators throughout the state.

A limited number of additional scholarships are available to Illinois teachers from schools with a minimum free and reduced lunch rate of 50% (non-rural) or 40% (rural), or has a minimum underrepresented minority rate of 50%. Otherwise, the program costs is only $425 per teacher. That’s 86% off the national cost thanks to generous support from the Learning Technology Center and Code.org.

Participation in the full year-long program includes teaching materials, workshop supplies, nine days of professional development, and meals during workshops. Professional learning will occur during a week in the summer and four follow-up days throughout the school year. Additional travel costs are not covered and are the responsibility of the school or district.

Computer Science Unplugged with LEGO Education

Event Description

Join LEGO Education for a brief introduction to computer science through unplugged activities. Help your students develop a deeper understanding of computer science concepts and computational thinking through hands-on activities. Bring some bricks, and we will show you how to make magic in the hands of your students. Unplugged activities are a great way to introduce computer science concepts in a tangible, fun way. Techniques shared can be adapted for virtual classes and resources for lessons, activities, and inspiration will be provided. Please join us for ideas you can use immediately and in the future.

Presenter Bio

Dr. Leanna Prater, LEGO Solution Architect

The LTC joins Code.org as the newest Regional Partner

CHAMPAIGN, Illinois —  January 13, 2020 — The Learning Technology Center (LTC) is proud to announce a partnership with the non-profit organization Code.org to bring computer science to Illinois educators through professional development events, support, and advocacy. 

Code.org is dedicated to expanding computer science access and increasing participation by women and underrepresented students of color. One of the major components to achieving their mission is through their rich computer science curriculums and programs that will be available to Illinois teachers, including their year-long Code.org Discoveries (6-8) and Principles (9-12) programs and CS Fundamentals (K-12) workshops. 

Applications for this year’s Code.org Discoveries and Principles professional learning programs are open. Participation in the full year-long programs includes teaching materials, workshop supplies, nine days of professional development, and meals during workshops. Professional learning will occur during a week in the summer and four follow-up days throughout the school year. 

“Our partnership with Code.org allows us to substantially grow the effort to bring quality computer science learning experiences to students in the state. In the last year, the LTC provided professional learning to over 4,000 educators, including in the area of computer science, and becoming a Code.org regional partner allows the LTC to more directly address a growing need for K-12 computer science resources and training. By capitalizing on the high quality, free Code.org curriculum and training provided by our organizations, schools have an easy entry point into the realm of computer science,” said Tim McIlvain, LTC Director.

For more information on Code, please visit ltcillinois.org/code and be sure to follow the LTC (@ltcillinois) and Code.org (@teachcode) to stay up to date on all our events and resources.

About Learning Technology Center
The Learning Technology Center is an Illinois State Board of Education program that supports all public K-12 districts, schools, and educators through technology initiatives, services, and professional learning opportunities. To learn more, visit http://ltcillinois.org or follow us on twitter @ltcillinois. 

Computer Science Week

This week we celebrate Computer Science Education Week in recognition of Grace Hopper’s birthday on Dec. 9, 1906. During this week, K-12 students are encouraged to participate in an “hour of code’ as part of the Hour of Code initiative to help students realize that they, too, can learn the basics of coding. If bringing coding into your classroom makes you a little nervous, don’t worry! You do not need any prior experience to have your students participate in an hour of code activity. Code.org, one of the leading resources for coding in schools, believes that “anybody can learn” and wants computer science in every school so that every child has the opportunity to be exposed to it. CS Week and Hour of Code have the goal of exposing students to code with the hope they will want to learn more about computer science going forward. As a former computer science teacher, this was always one of my favorite weeks of the year! 

The History of Computer Science Week

In 2010, Computing in the Core Coalition launched activities and events to support Computer Science Education Week. In 2013, Code.org launched Hour of Code during CSEdWeek which reached over 15 million students across 167 countries. Since then Code.org continues to develop materials and resources for teachers and students to use in the classroom beyond just the hour. 

Why is Computer Science important?

Simply put, technology is everywhere and is not going away. According to Code.org, 67% of new STEM jobs are in computing and the #1 source of new wages comes from computing jobs. As of 2017, there were over 20,000 open computing jobs here in Illinois. 

“The Hour of Code is designed to demystify code and show that computer science is not rocket science—anybody can learn the basics,” said Hadi Partovi, founder, and CEO of Code.org. “Over 100 million students worldwide have tried an Hour of Code. The demand for relevant 21st-century computer science education crosses all borders and knows no boundaries.”

When I was teaching computer science, I was always searching for new and impactful materials to supplement my CS curriculum. In 2013 Code.org jumped in to help support the CS movement, and I was very grateful for more resources to use with my students. The materials available are so much more than just an “hour” worth of material to use to teach computer science. Code.org provides an incredible participation guide that will help you get started today.

They also have developed a free online curriculum and offer free training to educators! The CS Fundamentals are for K-5 students, CS Discoveries are for 6th – 10th-grade students and CS Principles are for 9th – 12th grades.

Beyond the Hour of Code

If you are looking for more free computer science resources to use with students, check out this list below.

AI for Oceans by Code.org. Code.org is featuring a new activity this year to expose students to artificial intelligence. Meet AI, the robot that helps clean up the ocean. Check out this video from Code.org to learn about machine learning.

Scratch by MIT. Students create interactive stories, games, and animations using block-based programming. Scratch statistics since 2008.

CSFirst by Google. Uses Scratch to help students learn about coding. 

Swift Playgrounds by Apple. Learn to code on the iPad.

Microsoft Makecode. Students use a variety of devices to run programs on and receive immediate feedback.

As you venture into the coding world and your students want more challenges take a look at this list of  Computer Science curriculum resources.

Code.org. (2019). What’s wrong with this picture?. [online] Available at: https://code.org/promote [Accessed 26 Nov. 2019].

Girls Who Code

Happy CS Ed week! In need of more computer science resources for your students? Start a FREE Girls Who Code Club Today! 

The Learning Technology Center of Illinois has partnered with Girls Who Code (GWC) to bring free computer science learning opportunities to our community. Girls Who Code Clubs are FREE after-school programs for 6th-12th grade girls to join a sisterhood of supportive peers and role models and use computer science to change the world. Participants not only learn hard coding skills and computational thinking, but they’ll also learn project management skills, collaboration, bravery, resilience, how to positively impact their community, and so much more.

When you start a GWC Club, you’ll gain access to free resources, flexible plug and play curriculum, funding opportunities, ongoing support, alumni opportunities for your young learners, and more! There’s no computer science experience needed to get started since GWC is there for you every step of the way. 

Apply now with the quick 15 min Clubs Application. As a Girls Who Code Community Partner, any Clubs in our network are eligible to receive additional partnership benefits by indicating the Learning Technology Center of Illinois on the Clubs Application! Learn more about how to get started by joining the next live 30 min webinar or email clubs@girlswhocode.com!