EDUCATION BRIEFS

COURTESY PHOTONew Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu and Frank Edelblut, the commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Education, with donated backpacks last year. The annual backpack effort is underway again for 2018.

Backpack drive begins

CONCORD — The New Hampshire Department of Education's backpack drive us underway. The drive will run through the end of the month. This is the third year for the effort, collecting backpacks for children in need throughout the state of New Hampshire.

The backpacks can be dropped off at the department’s Concord office, Londergan Hall, at 101 Pleasant St., in the Gov. Hugh  J. Gallen State Office Park, weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The backpacks will then be provided to school nurses for distribution around the state.

Robotics coding contest to start

The New Hampshire Department of Education and the Intelitek STEM and CTE Education Foundation (ISCEF) will being teaming up again to hold a statewide Cyber Robotics Coding Competition (CRCC) from mid-October to mid-December. Sponsored by Intelitek, and Oracle Academy, the CRCC is an eight-week virtual coding competition that provides students and educators with the opportunity to build STEM related skills using a cloud-based simulation platform featuring a virtual, 3D-animated robot.

New Hampshire was the first state to hold the competition. In doing so, it gave rise to an international phenomenon that has resulted in more than 30,000 students all over the world participating in similar events.

“CRCC is learning as it is meant to be,” said Frank Edelblut, the commissioner of the Department of Education. “Students could not be more engaged. They are not only building coding skills, but creativity and innovative capacity to solve problems. This year, they will be competing with students from around New Hampshire and around the world and will be able to challenge themselves even further. Ido and I share a vision to see a million students participating in this event in the next five years.”

In the first New Hampshire CRCC, held at the end of 2017, more than 2,500 students in middle and high schools throughout the state used CoderZ, a cloud-based coding platform to compete in over 80 different and challenging robotics missions. In addition to winning prizes for inclusiveness, faculty participation and diversity, the top schools competed in a grand finale competition for the best middle school, best high school and a grand prize called the Governor’s Award, which included a trophy and a $2,000 grant.

“The NH DOE has an inspiring vision of preparing its students – not just for the current 21st century – but for the 22nd century,” said Ido Yerushalmi, CEO of Intelitek. “As part of that goal, they are continually looking for ways to engage students in rigorous, relevant and integrated learning STEM experiences, including computer science. The first competition demonstrated that CRCC is a great way to motivate students and expose them to STEM – kids were even logging in to our software platform from home – and we are delighted to be helping support their vision.” 

The NH CRCC grand finale round will take place in the week of December 3rd at one of the state’s universities.

Students and teachers need no prior coding or robotics knowledge. The events include professional development and training for teachers and boot camp activities in which students learn and practice intensively from any Chrome computer browser. The missions are self-directed, and individual students can progress at their own pace. In the West Virginia event, students went from boot camp activities to a Week of Code event that was held in the first part of May and featured 21 challenges.

Competitions range in size from 20 to hundreds of schools and can be held over several weeks or at a one-day event. The finals can be a weeklong online competition and/or a face-to-face codeathon. An entire school can participate in a competition, and no special hardware is required. Participation is supported by sponsorships.

Parties interested in organizing Cyber Robotics Competitions for their school, district or state can contact ISCEF at info@iscefoundation.org.

 

This Week's Circulars