Future Leaders in Algorithms, Mathematics, and Engineering Sciences is the second stage in our STARS outreach program, this time targeting High School students. Similar to SPARCS, we meet about one Saturday a month and tackle fun computer science and programming topics. Our focus this year is software engineering and the theme is infusing computing into STEAM. Learn more at our outreach website: http://go.ncsu.edu/starsoutreach
Historically, STEM education in East African countries is based on rote learning from outdated textbooks. Girls in particular have limited access to quality STEM lessons and experimentation. In 2016, Pivot Academy brought Tablet-based learning and experiments to nearly 200 teachers and students at all-girls high school "Biyimana" in Rwanda's rural Ruhango District. In 2017, the program expanded to all five of the District's science curriculum-focused high schools. Drawing on expertise of award-winning US educators in Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Math and Learning Management System applications, we developed Pivot Academy to combine a week-long Boot Camp-style teacher training, followed by a Student Academy, reinforced by online lessons provided on Android Tablets and aligned with each country's mandated national STEM curriculum and IB standards. The content includes videos and hundreds of demonstration experiments that can be conducted with simple materials or on the Tablets themselves. Click here to learn more about Pivot Academy as it Evolves.
In 2012, I had the opportunity to visit the Cap Haitian area of Haiti to work with Haitian schools and student to promote basic computing knowledge. A team of educators from UNC Charlotte and the local Charlotte-Mecklenburg School System, as well as members of the STARS Alliance traveled to Haiti for multiple weeks and partnered with the One Laptop Per Child program to distribute laptops to students and teachers, and educate the both groups on basic computing knowledge. Haitian teachers learned how to design lesson plans to include use of the laptops, and students created their own Scratch games for their reading and math classes. I was a primary team member for the trip to Haiti, and was also in charge of setting up a school server at one of the Haitian schools that allowed the OLPC laptops to network together, and also hosted an online learning management system (moodle) where teachers could host learning materials for the students to access.
STARS Computing Corps is a community of practice for student-led regional engagement as a means to broaden participation in computing. The NCSU STARS (Students & Technology in Academia, Research and Service) Student Leadership Corps (SLC) is a student organization that provides students with the opportunity to learn more about computer science careers, participate in service and outreach programs to local schools, engage in research, meet with leaders in the computer field..
SPARCS is a middle school outreach program aimed at broadening participation in Computer Science. Initaited in October 2007, SPARCS offers monthly Saturday sessions to introduce students to fun and interesting concepts in Computer Science. Sessions typically run 4-5 hours and during each session a workshop will be organized by SPARCS mentors who are knowledgeable students studying Computer Science in College. These monthly workshops include hands-on learning activities to introduce the students to computer science concepts and practical applications. Sample workshops include game development, web design, and LEGO Mindstorm robotics. Recently a large focus of the SPARCS project has been on documentation and empirical data to evaluate and improve the program moving forward. More information is available at http://go.ncsu.edu/stars_sparcs