Professional Development

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Engaging Youth in Computer Science

In December 2020, Click2ComputerScience.org was launched by the Click2SciencePD team to increase access to Computer Science (CS) programming in out-of-school time (OST).

Dr. Kathleen Lodl, an Associate Dean at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the administrator of Click2SciencePD, shared her enthusiasm about the new platform.

"We are excited to empower out-of-school time educators, teens, and volunteers with the resources and skills they need to engage youth in hands-on learning experiences around computer science!" said Dr. Lodl.

The new web site offers resources for planning, teaching and understanding CS. Users who are familiar with Click2SciencePD will find elements of the site that are similar, like training guides and video learning modules. Features new to Click2ComputerScience include CS learning activities that are ready to use with youth and self-directed modules for adults to increase their skills.

Dr. Lodl explained that educators in OST programs had expressed the need for a resource like Click2ComputerScience. One 4-H educator from Nebraska agreed.

"We see increasing interest in computer science and need to get our staff and volunteers up to speed," the educator explained.

Dr. Lodl described how the development process has been driven by input from users and focus groups with CS professionals, informal educators, and youth development experts.

"Based on feedback from people in the field, Click2ComputerScience provides virtual professional development for those seeking to improve their own talents or facilitate that growth among others," Dr. Lodl concluded. "We're looking forward to feedback on how we can best meet the needs of users."

Click2ComputerScience was designed with volunteers and frontline staff in mind. Many CS programs rely on volunteers—teen leaders or CS professionals—who have a great passion for computer science. Because volunteers like these are sometimes nervous about their teaching skills, the site also includes resources for learning about teaching and engaging youth in out-of-school time, in addition to CS learning resources.

Click2ComputerScience is designed to help OST programs inspire youth to find their potential in computer science. Check it out at Click2ComputerScience.

Written by Saundra Frerichs, Informal Science Education Specialist for Click2Science.

Courtesy of Click2Science.