It is no secret there is a growing gap between the number of STEM jobs available and the number of workers qualified to fill them. Of even greater concern is the disproportional diversity of individuals in STEM careers compared to the general population. Organizations like Change the Equation and the Department of Education attribute this discrepancy to a lack of STEM opportunities and engagement for women and minorities in the United States. For example, these organizations identify a lack of preparation among elementary school teachers to encourage female participation in STEM. In addition, they note that novice teachers are more likely to teach STEM courses at high-poverty schools meaning that students in high-poverty schools are not benefitting from the talent of our nation's veteran teachers. Lastly, there is ample evidence which demonstrates that minority students are woefully underrepresented in STEM AP courses.
The US Office of Educational Technology identifies free STEM software, like Curriculum Pathways, as a potential solution for closing the opportunity gap. More recently, educational leaders and policy makers have put great emphasis on the importance of computer science education for today's students through the CSforAll initiative. However, making CSforAll a reality as hoped by the White House administration requires an abundance of computer science educators--a requirement that is projected to necessitate 23,000+ CS teachers by 2025. In the meantime, schools are turning to free, online resources such as Code.org and CSFirst for lessons and other instructional tools.
Our free app, CodeSnaps, provides a wonderful supplement to existing CS curricula. CodeSnaps was designed for all classrooms requiring only one iPad and one robot for an entire class of students--and no internet! By utilizing tangible, printed blocks, students code collaboratively on a shared work surface. Their code is then scanned by the app and executed by the robot. CodeSnaps and the associated lesson materials are also available completely for free further eliminating the STEM opportunity gap.
Here's how to get started today!