Brooke Winebrenner

Brooke Winebrenner, a third grader at Estrella Elementary School, celebrated Computer Science Education Week

You’re never too young to prepare for the job market of tomorrow.

This philosophy explains Kyrene School District’s efforts to help even its youngest pupils understand technology.

“Whatever fields today’s students choose to go into as adults, their ability to succeed will increasingly depend on their understanding of technology,” said district spokeswoman Erin Helm, adding “students are preparing for the future with hands-on learning.”

Earlier this month, all 25 Kyrene campuses celebrated Computer Science Education Week, which encourages teachers to incorporate technology into their lessons.

Students participated in activities from robotics to coding. 

Considering Intel recently hosted a robotics conference where some competing teams consisted of fourth and fifth-graders, those activities will not only help prepare students for high school and college but the jobs of the future as well.

“It’s a great way to increase 21st-century skills that will make our students great digital and global citizens for tomorrow,” said Taylor Bender, a third-grade teacher and technology integration site lead at Kyrene de la Esperanza who helped establish Day of Code activities throughout the school. 

She said she learns just as much from her students as they do from her, explaining:

“It’s also enjoyable for our students, as they get to play to their strengths and witness their work in coding turn into completed animations.” 

Kyrene teachers utilized a variety of tools to integrate lessons into their classrooms – and not just by looking at screens.

“Some of Kyrene’s youngest students learned the foundations of coding with a few specialized markers and an Ozobot,” Helm said.

 Ozobots are small robots that read lines and color patterns from the markers, creating a hands-on experience while teaching basic coding concepts such as cause and effect, critical thinking and debugging skills.  

Kyrene de la Estrella in Ahwatukee celebrated Computer Science Week by participating in Hour of Code, a global movement encouraging all students to learn computer science through the creation of games, apps and computer drawings.

“Students from Kindergarten through 5th grade spent time coding in the library on laptops or in our computer lab,” said Estrella Principal Sarah Collins. “We even got buddies involved and our 3rd graders helped our kindergartners code!”

Hour of Code courses are free and students can access them at school or home.

Kyrene’s Instructional Technology Team helps to make these lessons possible. 

The team provides professional development for educators, teaching them to integrate lessons into their classrooms, in a variety of subjects.

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