Partnership focused on improving K-12 computer science education

Partnership focused on improving K-12 computer science education
Project to include Dec. 9 Hour of Code event

Guy Trainin
Guy Trainin

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln's College of Education and Human Sciences is partnering with Code.org to improve computer science education for Nebraska K-12 students.

The university joins a nationwide network of regional partners that provide high-quality professional development to K-12 educators through local school district collaborations and work to build local communities of computer science educators statewide.

"The goal of our regional partnership with Code.org is to establish the university as a regional hub for K-12 computer science," said Guy Trainin, professor in the Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education. "We will use our existing strong relationships with school districts and educators across the state to build the knowledge and capacity of K-12 teachers so they can better teach computer science to their students."

The Code.org regional partnership will be part of the department's Tech EDGE program, which Trainin directs. Through Tech EDGE, Trainin has posted more than 300 video podcasts and hosted 20 conferences to help teachers bring technology instruction to their classrooms. As a regional partner, Tech EDGE will leverage its expertise in hosting professional learning workshops for K-12 educators. Through the partnership, the university will host a number of daylong computer science workshops, a five-day summer experience for educators, and workshops for counselors and administrators of teachers participating or interested in Code.org professional learning programs.

Code.org will help provide initial funding for these efforts, help plan workshops and other activities, and provide expertise in recruiting participants. By the third year of the partnership, it is expected to be self-sustaining, with support from other sponsors.

Code.org is perhaps best known for its annual Hour of Code global event designed to demystify code and demonstrate that anyone can learn to write code. Code.org is supported by generous donors including Microsoft, Facebook, Infosys Foundation, Google, Omidyar Network and others. This year's Lincoln Hour of Code is 9 a.m. to noon Dec. 9 at Nebraska Innovation Campus. It is part of Computer Science Education Week, Dec. 4-10.

"Hour of Code is a chance for all of us to see what computer science is about," Trainin said. "We hope it will spark interest in students to keep learning. Research shows that kids can pick up programming concepts before they know how to read and write. In fact, their brains are more receptive to computer languages at a young age, just like foreign languages.”

To register for Hour of Code, click here.

Trainin added that others at Nebraska will support the regional partnership, including the College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of Computer Science and Engineering and the Nebraska Center for Science, Mathematics and Computer Education.