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Globaloria launches ‘Game Inventor’ course in Beeville ISD

Posted Date: 11/04/2016

Thomas Jefferson Intermediate School fifth-grade student Ricky Garza quickly logs into a computer program to assist his teacher, Cara Luke, in their Oct. 18 demonstration to the Beeville Independent School District board of trustees what Ricky and his classmates have learned as a result of the district’s relationship with Globaloria. Ricky and his classmates are learning coding, in which they have to input various commands for a video game program to execute properly.

BEEVILLE – Beeville ISD continues to innovate. One hundred educators and education leaders gathered together on Monday, Oct. 24, in Beeville for the launch of a new ground-breaking computer science course for ages 4-9. Following a day of hands-on training, the new course, Game Inventor, will engage 1,300 students in pre-K to fourth grades on the Globaloria blended-learning platform in taking first steps in computer science and engineering innovation as well as design and coding skills.

Globaloria is a national provider of K-12 computer science education founded on the mission that all students should have access to become computer-literate generation in order to drive the global, digital economy, close socioeconomic digital divides, and reduce gender gaps in STEM and CS careers. As the largest program of its kind nationwide in 2015-16, Globaloria courses generated more than 700,000 hours of design thinking in public-school classrooms, led by 650 educators in 150 schools across 15 states, and aims to double in size during this school year.

“Our school board and I decided this past summer to partner with Globaloria to provide computer science and computational thinking curriculum to all students in Beeville ISD,” said Beeville Superintendent Dr. Marc Puig. “Globaloria trained 250 educators and education leaders in August, and we’ve been rolling out these CS courses in all our upper elementary, middle and high schools during September and October. We strongly believe that computer science and coding are important new literacy required to solve key challenges in our community, the state of Texas, and the world. We want our students to grow up with mastery of these languages – English, Spanish and Computer Science – becoming fluent in all the old and new literacies.

“Clearly, the future of education will include mandatory computer science education at all grade levels. There is no time to lose another generation. We believe it’s a human right that should be accessible to all students everywhere,” said Dr. Idit Harel, CEO and founder of Globaloria and award-winning author of the book Children Designers. “It is our collective responsibility to educate the next generation of change-makers and innovators by providing accessible computer science resources for teacher training, and fun programs that allow students, to thrive in our digital world. We are thrilled that Dr. Puig, his school board and his entire faculty on six campuses are committed to the White House Computer Science for All initiative (#CSForAll) to empower every one of America’s students with the skills they need to be creators and leaders in the digital economy.”

The new Game Inventor course requires 20-25 hours of engagement over one month, one semester or two, can be easily integrated into any school schedule, and expanded to more instructional hours as needed. It is designed to:  

1) Introduce fundamental concepts of computer science starting in Pre-K;

2) Foster an understanding of the ‘computer-scientist mindset’ among early-childhood learners;

3) Put learners in active roles of inventors and designers of computer games; and

4) Apply computational thinking to school subjects benefitting both standard-aligned academic learning and computer science learning.  

Several fundamental computer science concepts are repetitively learned in this course by moving young learners through a typical iterative engineering and design thinking – from concrete activities using body movement and verbal expression, to representational activities expressing ideas in drawings, sketches and journaling, to building the ideas in the digital world using computational thinking and digital tools. Teachers lead students through six course topics in five modalities: ‘inventor circles,’ ‘game-playing,’ ‘game-acting,’ ‘game-inventing,’ and ‘game-coding,’ to experience several core CS practices, for example, creating an all-inclusive computing culture (Everyone Can Do Computer Science!); project-based teamwork (Collaboration Rules!); computational thinking for solving real-world problems (Computational Thinking is Fun!); using algorithms and abstractions (Software Inventors Use Special Language and Routines!); creating computational artifacts (Constructionist Learning is Empowering!); research, testing and refining (Inventors Constantly Test and Modify!); developing vocabulary by communicating verbally about computer science (We Learn Best by Teaching and Explaining!). 

This course is designed to be taught year-after-year for three to four years, for exploring a variety of school subjects in greater depth, and building multiple innovative ideas. In addition, Globaloria plans to have a Spanish and ELL versions of this course, and offers several advanced-beginner courses that can be taught immediately after this course is completed.

“The Game Inventor course uses the same computational innovation and design-thinking methods my colleague Idit Harel and I have used as graduate students at the MIT Media Lab,” said Dr. Allison Druin, Globaloria Early Childhood Education Advisor, a Professor, Lab Director, Associate Dean, and Chief Futurist at the University of Maryland. “We designed computational-learning experiences for young children following real-world practices, and the design innovation methods we facilitate in Game Inventor have been used by my researchers at Maryland and in industry (e.g., Google, Nickelodeon, Pearson), government organizations (U.S. National Park Service, Office of Science, Technology and Policy in the White House, U.S. Library of Congress), and in universities (e.g., University of Washington, MIT, Carnegie Mellon).” Dr. Druin, a world renowned published academic author of books and articles, worked with Globaloria CEO Dr. Harel at MIT 25 years ago and has since received numerous awards from the 2016 CHI Academy, the 2014 ACM Distinguished Scientist Award, and the 2010 SIGCHI Social Impact Award.

Read more: - Globaloria launches Game Inventor course in Beeville ISD 

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