eMINTS eLearning for Educators Awarded Google CS4HS Grant

UPDATE: Check out the project website for more information.

We are proud to announce that Google’s CS4HS Grant has awarded eLearning for Educators, our online professional development program for teachers, almost $35,000 to build on our successful partnership with the University of Colorado’s Scalable Game Design Project.

googleFundingThe grant will fund the development of a new online course for teachers to support the integration of math, science, and language arts with the new AP Computer Science Course standards. Teachers will learn to help their students design and build games and simulations that will not only provide many students with their first programming experience, but will deepen their understanding of core content. Using the cloud-based AgentCubes application, teachers will step into the student role as they create and publish their own games and simulations through user-friendly drag and drop, rule-based programming. Experiencing the learning from the student point of view will prepare them to help users as young as middle school students to get started coding.

eMINTS is thrilled to be a part of the exciting movement to get kids coding.  There are compelling reasons to move coding into the regular classroom, but many teachers we work with, especially those teaching upper-middle school and high school, don’t have time in their schedules to set aside their assigned standards and focus just on coding.  Introducing coding in the regular classroom is important for students because research from our partners at the University of Colorado-Boulder indicates that students who traditionally do not participate in computer science classes, such as minorities and girls, are more likely to continue to pursue those interests if they are introduced to computer science in their regular classroom.

We live in the Digital Age where computers are used in every career, but we are not teaching our kids how to be digital thinkers and creators in every content area. The percentage of students who pass the AP Computer Science test across the nation is abysmal. While the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 30% increase in demand for programmers by 2020, the highest performing state, Maryland, had just over 1% of their graduating class of 2013 pass the Advanced Placement Computer Science exam (United States Chamber of Commerce Foundation, 2014).  This problem stems from more than a lack of preparation; students suffer from a lack of exposure to, and thus interest in, computer science. Computer Science needs to move from the lab to the classroom and the Scalable Game Design Project is one step in the right direction.