Posted 15 Jun 2016
The Arkansas Educational Television Network has received a grant for $7,500 from PBS KIDS via the Verizon Foundation to host weeklong PBS KIDS ScratchJr Code-to-Learn Camp for children in kindergarten through 2nd grade. The camps will be held at Pine Bluff Elementary schools June 13-July 13. Additionally, to prepare for the camps, AETN was awarded a $3,750 grant for a workshop to develop teachers' professional skills to incorporate coding into the classroom.
'AETN is excited about this opportunity to introduce young children to computer science,' AETN Executive Director Allen Weatherly said. 'Programs like the PBS KIDS ScratchJr Code-to-Learn Camp set the stage for lifelong success in school and future careers.
'We are incredibly grateful to PBS and the Verizon Foundation for furthering technology education in Arkansas and promoting active learning, problem solving and creativity at all ages.'
The grant will fund weeklong, half-day camps with two activities per day, progressing from basic knowledge to more advanced programming skills throughout the week. Additionally, the grant will provide 20 tablets for the schools.
The camps will be included in the summer school program for Pine Bluff Schools, providing professional development for the school and education for the children. Participating Pine Bluff Elementary schools include Southwood, W.T. Cheney, Broadmoor, Belair and Thirty-Fourth. Approximately 200 children will attend the camps.
The PBS KIDS ScratchJr CodetoLearn Camp is designed as a sequence of activities to introduce children to creative coding by giving them the opportunity to create their own stories, games and collages with the PBS KIDS ScratchJr tablet app. The camp will use collaborative, digital and physical activities to teach children about computer coding.
With PBS KIDS ScratchJr, kids can create their own interactive stories and games featuring their favorite characters from "Wild Kratts," "Nature Cat," "WordGirl," "Peg + Cat," 'Ready Jet Go!' and more. By snapping together colorful programming blocks, children can make characters move, jump, dance and sing.
As young children engage in creative coding with the PBS ScratchJr app, they learn how to create and express themselves with technology, as opposed to passively consuming it. In the process, they are empowered to solve problems, design projects, demonstrate knowledge and develop computational thinking skills that are foundational for later academic success. With PBS KIDS ScratchJr, children don't just learn to code, they code to learn.
The app is available for free on both iPad and Android tablets. It will run on any iPad 2+, including all iPad minis and iPad Airs with iOS 7.0+ installed. It also runs on any Android tablet, 7 inches or larger, that is running Android 4.2+. It does not need web access to run.
The app is the product of the DevTech Research Group at the EliotPearson Department of Child Development at Tufts University, directed by Professor Marina Bers, and the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab, directed by Professor Mitchel Resnick. Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF DRL1118664), the PBS KIDS ScratchJr tablet app was released in December 2015.
Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN) was created in 1961 and is Arkansas's statewide public television network that enhances lives by providing lifelong learning opportunities for people from all walks of life. AETN produces 160 hours annually of local, award-winning productions and delivers classic, trusted PBS programs aimed at sharing Arkansas and the world with viewers who make up 95 percent of the state. AETN depends on the generosity of Arkansans and the State of Arkansas to continue offering quality programming. Additional information is available at aetn.org. AETN is broadcast on KETS (Little Rock), KEMV (Mountain View), KETG (Arkadelphia), KAFT (Fayetteville), KTEJ (Jonesboro) and KETZ (El Dorado).