Place-based education is a philosophy that utilizes the context of student knowledge – culture, location, nature, and history – to connect to curricular and core content within the classroom. Despite numerous articles and studies on the merits of land-based and place-based education in rural Alaska, there is little information regarding a connection between the culture and ecology of this culturally rich land with a substantial computer science curriculum. One can find math modules, art and music units, and ELA lessons that attach to Alaska Native culture through a simple web search, but Computer Science has remained a subject that is primarily in the classroom and focused on materials that do not necessarily connect with the students’ lives outside of school. Continue reading ‘Developing A Place-Based Computer Science Curriculum’ by YKSD Teacher Andrew Bellamy
I had the pleasure of attending the Alaska Society for Technology in Education (ASTE) conference in Anchorage a few weeks ago. This conference brought together speakers from all over the country and state to discuss technology in education. It was my first time attending and it will be on the calendar every year from now on. I listened to Fredrick Lane talk about cyber-ethics and the issues facing educators now, I learned about all the free resources that are available with Cyber.org and I had the pleasure of attending a presentation from two teachers in the Yukon-Koyukuk School District (YKSD) on how they use FLIP! to stay in communication with the students throughout their vast school district.
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.
The Yukon-Koyukuk School District (YKSD) has sponsored a series of math activities during the 2020-2021 academic year which have been organized around creating place-based math activities for students in the district, as well as advancing teacher’s Depth of Knowledge (DOK) 3 development as teachers of mathematics in multi-grade classrooms. The majority of teachers in YKSD are multi-subject educators who teach a variety of subjects, including math as part of their daily work in the classrooms.
The District’s math Specialist, Morris White, has coordinated the support for mathematics in YKSD during the 2020-2021 school year. Under Mr. White’s direction, and with the leadership of the District’s head of Teaching and Learning, Mr. Chane Beam, a series of place-based mathematics activities have been held at the majority of the district’s nine campuses.
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.
Alaska’s Heart through Student Art is an annual celebration of student expression that brings legislators, statewide educational leaders, students, teachers and artists together to celebrate the beauty, inspiration, and creativity of student artists across the state. The event is launched annually in the capital city of Juneau as statewide leaders gather for the legislative session.
More than 100 pieces of student art were meticulously packaged and shipped to the Alaska Council of School Administrators last winter and transported to the Andrew P. Kashevaroff State Museum. Carefully arranged and labeled in this beautifully appointed open gallery space in preparation for the March 2020 event that, as with so many other life events, became upended by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Our Alaskan Schools blog is excited to host our second student blog post. This post comes to us from four middle school/high school students at Rampart School in the Yukon-Koyukuk School District. We are excited for this opportunity to share the exciting things happening in Rampart from the perspective of these amazing student-journalists!
Alaska’s high school esports scene continues to grow after a successful inaugural season!
What are esports, you ask? Esports is organized competitive video gameplay between two teams with its own rules and guidelines. Large scale tournaments are happening all over the world where teams compete for millions of dollars in cash prices. Esports is a billion-dollar industry, and three of the ten most watched sporting events last year were esports events. Continue reading Esports Alaska by Luke Meinert, EsportsAK Founder