Five teachers in Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191 shared their expertise at the Coding in the Classroom Summit, a statewide conference where teachers are exploring ways to bring computer science opportunities to all students.
Lisa Christen’s students use Spheros to tell time.
Nancy Meyer, media specialist at Nicollet Middle School, did a presentation on middle school makerspaces, which are new places in District 191 schools where students can be creative, collaborate and problem solve. Meyer is a member of the group that planned the conference.
Sky Oaks Digital Learning Specialist Lisa Christen and districtwide elementary Media Specialist Katie Salmela presented “Creating and Connecting Content Areas with Codable Robots.” Just as students would, participants in their seminar used several different robots to complete a challenge that connected coding with math, language arts, science or social studies. Teams then presented and demonstrated how their projects worked.
Lexi Rollie and Beth Raebel, digital learning specialists at Gideon Pond Elementary and Hidden Valley Elementary, respectively, presented on using the website code.org with their students. During their session, they demonstrated how code.org can be used to develop problem solving, communication and collaboration skills. Attendees left with ideas on how to track progress using the website’s courses, as well as offline lessons.
Cindy Drahos, business IT/programming instructor at Burnsville High School, along with Rachel Gorton, the district’s Instructional Technology Coordinator, shared the district’s curriculum for including coding/computer science at all grade levels -- which few districts have.
Drahos discussed opportunities for teachers to be part of the Computer Science Teacher’s Association of Minnesota (CSTA) at the national and state levels.
As part of Vision One91, digital learning specialists were added at each elementary school to provide students with direct instruction on technology skills and applications, as well as support teachers in using technology for instruction.
With the addition, students in District 191 are now learning coding in all grades K-12. The expansion has caught the attention of educators and media, including KSTP-TV, which recently featured District 191 schools.