CONWAY, Ark. (AETN) — The Arkansas Educational Television Network recently received a grant for $10,000 from PBS KIDS via the Verizon Foundation to provide coding kits to STEM centers throughout the state. The kits are based on curriculum from PBS KIDS ScratchJr.
According to Code.org, computing jobs are the No. 1 source of new wages in the United States and 71 percent of all new jobs in STEM are in computing. Yet, only 40 percent of schools teach computer programming.
“Coding is a fundamental skill, empowering kids to design, create and express themselves through digital technology,” AETN Executive Director Courtney Pledger said. “As is evidenced by Gov. Hutchinson’s Computer Science Initiative, it’s crucial that we equip new generations with the ability to think digitally.
“Through opportunities such as this Verizon Foundation grant, AETN is enhancing the learning environment for Arkansas students and helping enable them to succeed in STEM fields.”
A total of 10 coding kits were created with the following items:
- PBS KIDS ScratchJr coding curriculum, including coding flash cards, games and printable certificates.
- Ten PBS KIDS Playtime Pads.
- PBS KIDS ScratchJr storyboard magnet set.
- Quick start guides
- Wonder Workshop Wonder Pack with Dot & Dash creative robots.
- Learning Resources Code & Go Robot Mouse Activity Set.
The kits are available for educators to check out from the STEM center and use in their classrooms. Additionally, resources connected to the coding kits, including those from PBS KIDS ScratchJR, AETN PBS LearningMedia and ArkansasIDEAS, are available at aetn.org/earlyeducation
As young children engage in creative coding, they learn how to create and express themselves with technology, as opposed to passively consuming it. In the process, they are empowered to solve problems, design projects, demonstrate knowledge and develop computational thinking skills that are foundational for later academic success. With PBS KIDS ScratchJr, children don’t just learn to code, they code to learn.
Stacy Allen, STEM Center math specialist, will be offering a 2 hour k-4 coding training featuring the kits November 27, 2017 at 4:30pm.