‘Alaska’s Momentum in Teaching Computer Science: Looking Forward’ by Sam Jordan at ASDN 

Alaska’s PK-12 school system is embracing the teaching of computer science like never before. Educators across the state, and their students, have recognized that navigating the digital world is not just about being a consumer of digital content, it’s about the skills needed to create that content. And to become a creator means knowing the building blocks of how digital content is made using computer science. 

Being a creator means that your individual insights and perspectives on the world can be represented and celebrated. Alaskan students experience the world through languages, cultures, climates, and geography that exist nowhere else. To ensure the digital landscape includes space for these unique perspectives, Alaskan students need to be equipped with the right knowledge to meaningfully share what they know and impact how digital spaces represent them. And because we know that Alaska Natives, women, and other people of color are historically underrepresented in the field of computer science, it is critical that we focus our efforts on giving those groups the skills needed to succeed in the digital future.  

Continue reading ‘Alaska’s Momentum in Teaching Computer Science: Looking Forward’ by Sam Jordan at ASDN 

‘Wrangell’s 6th Grade ASTE Presentation’ by Alana Harrison, Andrei Siekawitch, Jackson Carney, and Madelyn Davies

This year, the sixth grade class of the Stikine Middle School in Wrangell, Alaska presented at ASTE. ASTE is a technology conference that happens every year in February where people come from all over Alaska, and sometimes from all over the U.S., to watch presentations and present to others. ASTE stands for the “Alaska Society for Technology in Education.”

Continue reading ‘Wrangell’s 6th Grade ASTE Presentation’ by Alana Harrison, Andrei Siekawitch, Jackson Carney, and Madelyn Davies

‘YKSD Celebrates #CSEdWeek 2020!’ by Chelsea Hurst

Computer Science Education Week (#CSEdWeek) “is an annual call to action to inspire K-12 students to learn computer science, advocate for equity in computer science education, and celebrate the contributions of students, teachers, and partners to the field” (https://www.csedweek.org/). This year’s #CSEdWeek is focused on the intersection of computer science and social justice, and raising up diverse voices in technology.

Over the past two years, the Yukon Koyukuk School District (YKSD) has partnered with the Alaska Staff Development Network to introduce, develop and implement Computer Science Education to all students across the district through an Alaska Native Education Program grant called the Math and Computer Science Advancement (MaCSA) Project. Continue reading ‘YKSD Celebrates #CSEdWeek 2020!’ by Chelsea Hurst

‘Curiosity and Learning Through Global Virtual Connections’ by Sam Jordan @ASDN

This week, educators from across the world, including here in Alaska, are participating in a unique educational event called the Global Learning Connection 2020. Sponsored by Microsoft’s educational program Skype in the Classroom, this event leverages the communication apps Skype, Microsoft Teams and Flipgrid to create live and asynchronous connections for students around the world to meet with peer in other state or countries, or with guest content experts. The whole event is aimed at making it possible for students to travel the world virtually and make meaningful connections to people, cultures and information that would not be available to them in any other way, especially during the global pandemic.

Continue reading ‘Curiosity and Learning Through Global Virtual Connections’ by Sam Jordan @ASDN

‘A New Google Educators Group for Alaska’ by Chelsea Hurst at YKSD

Growing up, I played team sports. Through this experience, I learned that a team is only successful if all of the athletes are willing to work together toward a common goal. As I transitioned into a classroom teacher, I approached my profession with the same attitude. I loved to bounce ideas off of coworkers, share successes, failures and seek help when needed. I knew that in order to become a better teacher, I had to work with my colleagues toward a common goal: the success of our students.  Continue reading ‘A New Google Educators Group for Alaska’ by Chelsea Hurst at YKSD

‘The Power of Public Speaking’ by Laura Davies in Wrangell

At the beginning of each school year, I inform fifth-grade students that by the end of the year, they will all write a persuasive speech and say it aloud to their friends and family. Most students are already aware of this ten-year tradition, but many still give me a look of shock and disbelief. During the year, students work on speaking in front of their peers during daily student-run morning meetings and throughout the day when they share their ideas, knowledge, and questions with their peers. Using a microphone they learn to stand up, speak aloud to their peers, and over time develop confidence with this skill.

Students have numerous opportunities throughout the school year, like this Mystery Skype session, to practice public speaking skills and gain confidence in their public speaking abilities.

Continue reading ‘The Power of Public Speaking’ by Laura Davies in Wrangell

‘BrainPOP Offers Huge Set of Learning Resources for Alaska’s K-12 Classrooms’ by Geoffrey Wyatt at Juneau Public Schools

Up until a few years ago, the mention of BrainPOP or BrainPOP Jr. conjured a much different vision in my mind than it does now. My first encounters came from searches for quality educational videos.

BrainPOP’s short movies famously feature a robot named Moby as he and his friends explore the world. Each animated video tackles topics which range from how a food chain works to economic recession to Abraham Lincoln and much more. Science, social studies, math, the arts, engineering, and math, are a few of the categories offered on the site. Continue reading ‘BrainPOP Offers Huge Set of Learning Resources for Alaska’s K-12 Classrooms’ by Geoffrey Wyatt at Juneau Public Schools

‘Advancing College Success with Upward Bound in Alaska’ by Adam Low at UAF

The University of Alaska Fairbanks campus has been home to Alaska’s Upward Bound (UB) program for over 52 years. The federally grant-funded Upward Bound project reaches across the state to assist first-generation-to-college students in small, rural high schools. The program strives to increase the number of high school graduates who continue on to enter universities and colleges.

Continue reading ‘Advancing College Success with Upward Bound in Alaska’ by Adam Low at UAF

‘Diving Into The Shift: KPBSD Remote Learning’ by Amanda Adams and Devin Way

‘Diving into the shift’ was how the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District (KPBSD) approached taking on the idea of Remote Learning. The Professional Development team decided to take this situation head-on, and tackled it with gusto. The team knew that the weeks ahead presented unprecedented shifts in practice that teachers would need support for, AND the team knew there was a wealth of knowledge and expertise to pull from.

Social media post alerting the KPBSD community of the plan to shift to remote learning

Continue reading ‘Diving Into The Shift: KPBSD Remote Learning’ by Amanda Adams and Devin Way

‘Preparing for College And Flying Drones: The Gear Up Program in LKSD’ by Sam Jordan at ASDN

The Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) initiative is one of the largest national programs focused on increasing the college and career readiness of low-income students in the U.S.

Focused on middle and high school students, GEAR UP helps empower local partnerships comprised of K-12 schools, institutions of higher education, state agencies, and community organizations to achieve three strategic goals:

  • (1) increasing the postsecondary expectations and readiness of students;
  • (2) improving high school graduation and postsecondary enrollment rates; and
  • (3) raising the knowledge of postsecondary options, preparation, and financing among students and families.

The Rural Alaska GEAR UP Partnership serves students in the state’s two largest rural school districts, Lower Kuskokwim (LKSD) and Bering Strait (BSSD) in western Alaska. The partnership is supported by the Alaska Staff Development Network (ASDN). ASDN’s founder Kelly Tonsmeire serves as the Rural Alaska GEAR UP Partnership Project Director. Continue reading ‘Preparing for College And Flying Drones: The Gear Up Program in LKSD’ by Sam Jordan at ASDN