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A New Literacy: The Language of Computers

YMCA Campers stopping by the STEM Leadership Center to learn some coding skills.

The skill of coding is not just about a career in programming, it is a necessary literacy for our future. I am so impressed that the YMCA is taking a lead in Beaver County to make coding education a priority!

Friday was our last YMCA Summer Camp coding field trip. For our final day, we introduced students to a new programming language called “Scratch”. We created logins, placed them on index cards, and sent the kids home inspired to create more. If you look closely, you’ll see one of the leaders, the mentor, the ACSL coach and the Programming club coach in the picture. Check out what the Baden Academy Dragon Tag Programming club accomplished this year…

You can find out more at their website .

We ask each of our Odyssey Fellows in the STEM Leadership Lab to be enrolled in an online programming class. Many start with but often quickly move onto specific challenges. Anthony working on Kryptocurreny Kids is learning C++, Gavin working on solid state batteries in Charging into the Future is focused on Java. Several are working on learning Arduino C++ including 4 Step Robotics and Catching Wave Project Fellows .

I recently attended a #CSforInslusion event sponsored by ReMake Learning. Inviting our students to become literate in computer programming is an urgency causing a groundswell of support. Take a moment to listen to LeTrenda’s recap…

I continue to advocate for better access to computer science opportunities at the Beaver County Quality Education Council. Efforts have not yet met with much success. One superintendent responded to my again raising the issue with the statement “Not everyone wants to become a programmer.” I wonder if, when mandatory education to teach students to read entered the dialog 150 years ago, it was met with the same skepticism.

Our Beaver County CTC was ready to embrace the possibility of a three-year computer science vocational training for any area public school students. The area superintendents unanimously voted it down. Please, advocate for computer science education. Until it is offered in the schools, afterschool programming is the key to getting our students ready!

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