Students at Kenwood Develop Computational Thinking Skills

Title

K-8 Computational Thinking

Kenwood

Kenwood’s faculty and community committed to a new focus in 2013 as a Technology & Literacy for Community (TLC) School. All students learn computer coding or programming, have a solid focus on literacy, and engage the community as an active part of the school. The school wide focus on computer programming or coding serve as opportunities for the development of a computational thinking mindset in all students which can be applied to any subject.  With a school-wide technology initiative, students have easy access to computers through classroom computers, and through three Chromebook carts. All students grades three through five will have their own Chromebook upon the completion of the school’s renovation.  Every classroom at Kenwood Elementary has an interactive SMART Board where students take advantage of hands-on learning opportunities. The new Collab-Lab will be a space for invention, experimentation and group problem solving.  It will include modular furniture that can be moved to best facilitate students working in concert, as well as wifi connected monitors around the room, so students can share work. A strong and viable partnership with the University of Illinois works to assist in technology professional development for the Kenwood faculty as well as providing unique opportunities to Kenwood students and their families through onsite, collaborative, technology workshops.​

Etoys

Champaign Unit 4 School District utilizes a program called Etoys, which was developed at the University of Illinois, to teach students the basics of computer programming. EtoysIllinois has stated that their mission is to "help children learn to use Etoys and to ignite an enthusiasm for expressing ideas using the language of the computer." EtoysIllinois is an initiative of the Office for Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign whose goal is to develop and freely distribute educational materials that will help teachers learn to use Etoys with their students. All three Champaign middle schools--Jefferson, Franklin, and Edison--utilize the program, as well as Kenwood Elemtnary School. The use of this program to develop computational thinking skills is spreading around the District. 

Computer Science Education Week & Code.org's Hour of Code

As part of Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek) 2013, which takes place each December, Champaign Unit #4 School District conducted a number of school activities  centering on computer science and computer literacy.
 
CSEdWeek is an annual program dedicated to showing K-12 students the importance of computer science education. Organized by the Computing in the Core coalition and Code.org, CSEdWeek is held in recognition of the birthday of computing pioneer Admiral Grace Murray Hopper (December 9, 1906). The 2013 celebration inlcuded nearly 4 million students and 7,300 events worldwide. 
 
“Our District has invested in and will continue to incorporate computer science and technology into the curriculum. We know that technology skills will be vital in our students’ post-secondary success," said David Hohman, Director of Educational Technology.
 
As part of this celebration, Kenwood Elementary will held its second “Demystifying the Computer” workshop for families. Families who participated helped repair a personal computer and took it home at the close of the workshop. During the week, Kenwood and Carrie Busey Elementry Schools participated in the Hour of Code, which means they coded for at least one hour a day each day of CSEdWeek using iPads, Chromebooks, and Netbooks. 

Centennial High School also hosted a Code-In that allowed students and staff the opportunity to learn computer programming and coding skills. The District's AVID Program also introduced Chromebooks to participating junior and senior students during CSEdWeek to help build digital literacy skills. 

Students and staff members also participated on an individual basis via the CSEdWeek official website.

The District is currently planning to participate in CSEdWeek 2014. For more information, please visit http://csedweek.org.