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2017 Scratch Day Camp

Scratch Day is a global network of events that celebrates Scratch and the young people who code and create with it. This year’s Scratch Day is extra special, because it also coincides with Scratch’s 10th anniversary. To celebrate, The Div is hosting a Scratch Camp in Oklahoma City!

Projects will be similar to those covered in our 2016 camp, but this year we’re also exploring how Scratch can be used to interact with the “real world”. We’ve teamed up with our friends from the OKC Open Source Hardware group and a portion of camp will be an introduction to activities using the Raspberry Pi.

What is Scratch?

Scratch is a visual programming language developed by the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at MIT. The platform makes it easy for children to program their own interactive stories, games and animations, and share these creations with others in the online community. As young people create and share Scratch projects, they learn important mathematical and computational ideas, while also learning to think creatively, reason systematically and work collaboratively— essential skills for life in the 21st century.

  • Date: Saturday, May 13
  • Time: 9 AM – 3 PM
  • Location: The Techlahoma Event Center at Starspace 46
  • Facilitator: Wes Fryer
  • Grades: 3rd- 6th
  • Capacity: 20 students
  • Cost: $40 (Includes lunch and a t-shirt)
    • Scholarships are available. Email info@thediv.org for more details.

Teacher Professional Development Applications Now Open

As part of our new partnership with Code.org, The Div is on a mission to work with school districts throughout Oklahoma to provide free access to computer science curriculum and teacher training.

As you probably know, Code.org is a national nonprofit dedicated to expanding access to computer science and increasing participation by women and underrepresented minorities. And just like us, they have a vision is that every student in every school should have the opportunity to learn computer science, just like biology, chemistry or algebra. Code.org has selected Regional Partners throughout the country to help spread computer science in a local, sustainable fashion.

We’re excited to announce that applications for Oklahoma teachers to participate in the professional learning program are now open!

Participating teachers have the opportunity to attend an expenses paid national training conference in summer 2017, participate in 4 local trainings throughout the school year and join a supportive community of likeminded educators. We’ll be offering curriculum and training for Computer Science Discoveries (grades 7-9) and Computer Science Principles (high school, with an AP option).

The free curriculum offers flexible implementation and includes daily lesson plans made up of inquiry-based activities, videos assessments and computing tools, allowing teachers to guide and learn alongside students as they discover core computing concepts. It also features Code Studio, a learning platform that organizes lesson plans and activities with student and teacher dashboards.

How to apply?

Links to each program’s applications are listed below. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis and will be accepted until March 17, 2017 so apply now if you’re ready to get started.

Apply for CS Discoveries                Apply for CS Principles

We’re Hiring!

Get paid to help teachers learn computer science

The Div and Code.org are looking to partner with individuals to deliver high-quality professional development to Oklahoma teachers in a format that’s fun and accessible.

New CS educators need top-notch facilitators

The ideal facilitator is an enthusiastic supporter of computer science education, possesses a connection to Code.org’s equity-focused mission and has a strong background in the computer science, either through teaching or tech industry experience.

Accepted facilitators complete a one-year train-the-trainer program. Facilitators will receive instruction to prepare them to deliver professional development to teachers on the Code.org curriculum during an expenses-paid trip to Code.org’s summer training conference.

Facilitators accepted to the program will work with The Div to plan and lead the following workshops for local teachers in Oklahoma:

  • Four 1-day, in-person workshops during the 2017-18 school year (typically on Saturday)
  • One 5-day workshop in summer 2018

This is a contract position for which facilitators will be competitively compensated. 4 positions are available, 2 per program.

Professional Learning Programs

Code.org will prepare facilitators in two areas. The focus areas share a basic framework and approach, drawn from adult learning theory and best practices for facilitation, that ensures participants are well prepared to lead high-quality training. Read more and apply here:

Priority 1 deadline is January 9th, 2017. At that time applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. The final application deadline is February 1, 2017. Contact info@thediv.org with any questions.

All Girls Code Camp in OKC

We’re hosting our first ever all girls code camp!

Falling just after Ada Lovelace Day, this 3 hour day camp is an opportunity for young girls to get together and learn some of the basic building blocks of computer programming. Designed to introduce them to new projects and ideas, participants will go home with even more resources to continue to learn and build their skills after camp is over.

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Computers are changing everything, but nationwide only 1 in 4 schools teaches computer science. Unfortunately, that creates an opportunity gap…and learning about technology shouldn’t be exclusive. While we’re focused on closing the gap for all kids, we recognize that for girls, it’s even more important. By 2020, there will be 1.4 million jobs available in computing related fields. US graduates are on track to fill 29% of those jobs. Women are on track to fill just 3%.

When girls learn to code, they become change agents in their communities. They create technology that makes the world a better place. We want to give them the tools they need to get started.

Camp Details

  • Date: Saturday, October 22
  • Time: 12:30 – 3:30 PM
  • Location: Computer lab use donated by Oklahoma City University, Meinders School of Business
  • Facilitator: Heather Vick
  • Grades: 2nd – 5th
  • Cost: $25
    • Cost includes afternoon snacks and a t-shirt
    • We never want cost to be a barrier to learning. Scholarships are available thanks to our generous friends at OK Women in Technology. Contact info@thediv.org for more details.

Register

The Div joins Code.org as Professional Learning Partner

We’ve been sitting on some exciting news for a few weeks now, and we’re finally able to tell you all about it.

The Div has been selected as a Code.org Professional Learning Partner and will be the designated provider of Code.org programs in Oklahoma!

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Board members Cory Miller & Jay Chapman with Code.org Founder Hadi Partovi & Director McKalyn Danner

So what does that mean?

In short, it means that Code.org is providing funding and tools to help us expand access to computer science education in Oklahoma. The Div will be able to offer professional development and full course curriculum to local educators and school districts at no cost to them. Teachers have the opportunity to attend a national training conference in summer 2017, participate in 4 local trainings throughout the school year and join a supportive community of likeminded educators. We’ll be offering curriculum and training for Computer Science Discoveries (grades 7-9) and Computer Science Principles (high school, AP). But we can also make connections for teachers who wish to implement Computer Science Fundamentals in their elementary school classes. You can check out our full media release here.

Computer science drives innovation throughout the US economy, but it remains marginalized throughout K-12 education.

A quick look at computer science in Oklahoma

  • Oklahoma currently has nearly 2,000 open computing jobs (2.8 times the average demand rate in Oklahoma).
  • The average salary for a computing occupation in OK is $68,598, which is significantly hirer than the average salary in the state ($41,820).
  • Only 411 computer science computer science graduates in 2014, only 18% were female
  • Only 206 high school students in Oklahoma took the AP Computer Science exam in 2015; only 24% were female; only 26 were Hispanic; only 15 were black; only 7 were Native American.
  • Only 25 schools in Oklahoma (8% of OK schools with AP programs) offered the AP computer science course in 2014-2015. There are fewer AP exams taken in computer science than in any other STEM subject area.

The Div does The White House

As part of this partnership, The Div had the opportunity last week to travel to Washington DC for training and to convene and connect with other computer science education advocates. Our Board President Cory Miller, who also founded local technology company iThemes, was invited to speak at an event hosted by The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. He shared with the cohort about why businesses like his are dedicated to supporting, advocating for and funding work in this area.

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Board members Cory Miller and Jay Chapman with Executive Director McKalyn Danner in Washington DC

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Code.org Cohort of Professional Learning Partners from across the US

Professional Development for Computer Science Educators

We’re over the moon excited, because this partnership will allow us to expand our reach exponentially. We’ll continue to offer youth camps forever, because it’s important to provide as much technology access as possible. But we know that when you are able reach 1 teacher, you’re actually touching around 127 students a year. This partnership allows us to impact even more Oklahomans with the life-changing skills that computer science teaches.

Teacher applications open in January. Educators can use the links below to learn more about the specific courses and receive updates about the program, or email any questions to The Div directly at info@thediv.org.

Computer Science Discoveries:       Learn more about curriculum        Apply for professional learning

AP Computer Science Principles:   Learn more about curriculum         Apply for professional learning

How you can help

Our Code.org funding is for a short time only. We need champions to help us grow and sustain this important work. Your support has a direct impact on education in Oklahoma, and a direct impact on changing young lives forever. Click the button below to donate now.

Donate Now

PBS Kids ScratchJr Code Camp in Edmond

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Computer programming is a new type of literacy. We think coding should be for everyone, just like writing. Even young children can learn to program their own interactive stories and games.

That’s why we’re taking our popular Scratch Camp format and bringing it to a younger audience so that kids have a chance to start coding even earlier!

September 17, we’re hosting a PBS Kids ScratchJr Code Camp.

What is Scratch Jr.?

ScratchJr is an introductory programming language inspired by the popular Scratch program, used by millions of young people around the world. In ScratchJr, the interface and programming language were redesigned to make them developmentally appropriate for younger children, carefully designing features to match their cognitive, personal, social, and emotional development.

Then PBS Kids and ScratchJr partnered together to make coding even more appealing to kids. With the PBS Kids ScratchJr app, young people can create their own stories and games featuring their favorite characters from shows like Wild Kratts, Nature Cat, WordGirl and Peg + Cat.

 

Why is ScratchJr Important?

As young children code with ScratchJr, they learn how to create and express themselves with the computer, not just to interact with it. In the process, children learn to solve problems and design projects, and they develop sequencing skills that are foundational for later academic success. They also use math and language in a meaningful and motivating context, supporting the development of early-childhood numeracy and literacy.

With ScratchJr, children aren’t just learning to code, they are coding to learn.

Camp Details

  • Date: Saturday, September 17
  • Time: 9 AM – 2 PM
  • Location: iThemes (1720 S. Kelly Ave. Edmond, OK)
  • Facilitator: Shelly Fryer
  • Grades: 3rd – 5th
  • Cost: $40
    • Cost includes lunch and a t-shirt
    • Scholarships are available

Email info@thediv.org with any questions.

Register

Is Minecraft the Future of Learning?

All video games are not created equal.  In fact, I’d argue that there’s a valid place for some of them in the world of education.

We hosted our first Minecraft camp last weekend and it was a big hit with kids and parents, alike. The camp filled up in just 10 days, and the waiting list nearly matched the class size. We’re hoping to host another this fall. (Sign up here to be the first to get details!)

13701117_1389620431053405_1475069692938203835_oDebates about “screen time” are nothing new and lots of parents regard it as something to be given minimally. But is it really fair to lump Minecraft in with everything else?

It’s a video game, sure, but it’s also a building toy. Basically, Minecraft is this generation’s digital version of legos.

Kids don’t love it because they recognize that it’s educational…kids respond to Minecraft because it’s a creative, collaborative environment where they’re in control of their own projects.

When we use Minecraft as an educational tool, we aren’t simply turning the kids loose to play, and the goal isn’t for them to get better at “playing Minecraft”. When kids come to Minecraft camp, they’re given challenges that develop different abilities, which are tied to coding, digital literacy, spatial reasoning and STEM skills.

Challenges can also link to specific curricular standards and objectives. In the case of the treehouse challenge we used at camp, students used concepts from geometry like area and perimeter.

In order to set their students up for success in the 21st century, teachers often look to the 4 C’S:

  • Critical Thinking
  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Creativity

Minecraft has some unique advantages for integrating each one.

Critical Thinking

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Minecraft requires a good deal of debugging. When what you’ve built isn’t working the way you want it to, you have to carefully go over it to figure out what’s wrong. Problem solving is one of Minecraft’s most powerful tools for learning.

It’s an idea that computer programers know and wrestle with every day, which is that programs are rarely flawless at first. The work isn’t so much in writing code but in debugging it, figuring out what you did wrong and coming up with a fix. The game encourages kids to regard logic and if-then statements as fun things to mess around with.

Communication

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When working through Minecraft challenges, students are given specific instructions for how to complete the task ahead. They have to listen effectively before they can even get started.

When students explore either other’s creations, they’re giving instructions and taking feedback.

During “Show and Share” time, students practice expressing their thoughts clearly and articulating their ideas during oral presentations.

Collaboration

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Collaboration is essential because it’s largely how work is accomplished once children move on to adulthood.

Our campers worked on two different challenges, and both were completed in teams of two or three. They had to learn to build something with a team. In the case of the escape room challenge, teams had to figure out how to connect each of their individual builds to create a cohesive game.

Creativity

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Creativity and innovation are drivers in today’s society and Minecraft is a source of endless possibilities.

Before beginning challenges, students are tasked with brainstorming and idea creation to create and refine their build plans.

In creative mode, the goal is to build structures in an open 3D environment. The open-ended nature of the game gives students the opportunity to be inventive and really feel a sense of control over their environment.

We owe it to 21st century students to respond to a constantly changing world and provide them with the necessary skills to prepare them for success.

One of the benefits of using technology in education is how much more engaged students are as a result. If kids enjoy what they’re doing and have fun while they learn…everybody wins!

Scratch Camp- Kids Tell All

I shared a few thoughts on last week’s Scratch Camp over on the iThemes blog, but I wanted to talk about one of the things that touched me most here.

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After each camp, we send a survey to parents asking for their feedback. But we also really love to get it straight from our campers.

Kids don’t hold back. If they loved it, they’ll use all the exclamation points they can fit on the page. If they were bored, they’ll skip the sugar coating and tell you that too. And after all, everything’s a little cuter when written in Crayola.

Out of the mouths of babes

Here are a few of the feedback forms we got from campers:

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Hard fun promotes passionate learning.

Can you guess the thing about our camper’s feedback forms that really stuck with me?

“I had some struggles. It was hard, but fun!”

To an educator, that’s some of the the best feedback you can get. Because learning doesn’t happen on accident. Even if the end result is something you really want, it takes work and diligence to get there.

Let kids try and fail and then try again, that’s where learning begins!

As adults, we’re quick to preach the “learning is fun” mantra, but perhaps it would better serve the next generation to say, “Learning can be really tough…but fun comes once you grasp the skill, so the hard work is worth it!”

If we teach well, we can guide our kids and students gracefully through the parts that are just plain hard work, knowing that excitement and fun are on the other side.

Minecraft Challenge Camp in Oklahoma City

*Editors note: This camp has reached capacity! To find out about other camps as they are announced, sign up to recieve our newsletter.

Does your child enjoy building, working with others and solving challenging problems in Minecraft? Sign up to participate in our MinecraftEDU Building and Redstone Engineering Challenge Kids Camp!

Minecraft registration

What does a Minecraft Challenge Camp look like?

Student participants will have an opportunity to build together on either our MinecraftEDU Building Challenge Server (in Creative mode) or our Redstone Engineering Challenge Server (in MinecraftEDU mode). On each server, student groups will be provided with building challenges as well as resources, tutorials and instructions on how to complete each challenge.

Multiple challenges will be available. These will include simple challenges like “designing and building cute animals” to more complex challenges like building a rollercoaster or a Redstone-powered house with opening doors, automatic lights, door bells, etc. Prior experience with Minecraft is helpful but not required. Prior experience building with Minecraft Redstone is not required.

  • Date: Friday, July 15
  • Time: 9 AM – 3 PM
  • Location: Casady School
  • Facilitator: Wes Fryer
  • Grades: 3rd – 8th
  • Capacity: 20 students
  • Cost: $40
    • Includes lunch
    • Scholarships and multi-child family discounts are available. Email info@thediv.org for details.

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Scratch Day Camp in OKC

Scratch Day is a global network of events that celebrates Scratch and the young people who code and create with it. To celebrate, The Div is hosting a Scratch Camp in Oklahoma City!

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What is Scratch?

Scratch is a visual programming language developed by the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at MIT. Scratch makes it easy for children to program their own interactive stories, games and animations, and share these creations with others in the online community. As young people create and share Scratch projects, they learn important mathematical and computational ideas, while also learning to think creatively, reason systematically and work collaboratively— essential skills for life in the 21st century.

  • Date: Saturday, May 14
  • Time: 9 AM – 3 PM
  • Location: Oklahoma City University
  • Facilitator: Wes Fryer
  • Grades: 2nd- 6th
  • Capacity: 28 students
  • Cost: $30
    • Multi-child family discount: $50 for 2 or more kids from the same family.
    • Scholarships are available.

Email info@thediv.org with any questions.

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