Pictured are Andrea Komorowski, Jenny Solloway, Colin Clemens and Sacred Heart Principal Mike McClain attend computer science training at the University of Notre Dame. Photo provided.
Pictured are Andrea Komorowski, Jenny Solloway, Colin Clemens and Sacred Heart Principal Mike McClain attend computer science training at the University of Notre Dame. Photo provided.
Sacred Heart School continues to advance its technology curriculum through a recent partnership with the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Educational Initiatives, which houses The Center for STEM Education, and South Bend Code School.
The partnership stems from The Center for STEM Education’s CREST program, which, as Director Matt Kloser said, “The overarching purpose of this program is to improve both the schoolwide vision of computer science and to equip Catholic school teachers with new instructional skills in computer science education. Teachers will participate in four day-long professional development sessions that provide opportunities to work in school teams in ways that build their distributed leadership and think individually about how computer science can be better used in their classrooms.”
This partnership equips Sacred Heart teachers to incorporate the Indiana Computer Science standards in meaningful and interesting ways, which in turn better positions Sacred Heart students for success in their future academic, career and life endeavors, according to a news release provided.
The school pursued this partnership recognizing the increasing need for coding expertise in the professional world.  Principal Mike McClain said, “The most successful code-writers are those that can network and interface with clients that have a variety of coding needs. Coding professionals therefore need to be more than just technically skilled - they must be able to communicate with their clients and transfer input into meaningful deliverables. At Sacred Heart, the size of our school, our demographic, our small family groups and our STREAM program facilitates this development in our students. By incorporating religion and arts into our STEM programming, students are frequently making connections between the academic content they are learning and their faith life. Making those kinds of connections is exactly what coders must do - seek an understanding of the client's business and needs in order to bridge connections from their computer science knowledge to whatever the client needs.“
The recent visit to the University of Notre Dame on Jan. 23 marked the second of four such engagements that Sacred Heart teachers and staff will be taking as the school continues to advance its science and technology curriculum. Teachers and staff are equipped with plugged activities, those that use a computer or tablet, as well as unplugged activities, those that don’t use technology, to help kids gain knowledge related to data and information, computing devices, programs, networking and cultural impact.
It’s the culture and impact piece that Digital Media teacher Colin Clemens sees as absolutely vital for kids moving forward.  “Technology is changing and moving very quickly. Constant advances in technology mean new ways our kids can be at risk while using the internet. ‘Be Internet Awesome’ is an online game that allows all of our kids K-6 to learn about the dangers of the internet and also how to properly navigate situations they’ll face, while still getting to have a fun, interactive gaming experience.”
For science teacher Jenny Solloway, there are a wide variety of classroom implications.
“I have learned some fun and engaging unplugged (no tech) activities that I can easily integrate into my science classes as well as other subjects to increase student knowledge of the coding process. The knowledge gained from the activities can then be applied as they work with tech to better understand how the tech works. We also learned about the importance of internet safety. In keeping with our Catholic faith, it is important that we teach our students to be good stewards of the world of the internet and be respectful of themselves and others when using it.”
This coding training will be implemented across all grade levels. For more information on Sacred Heart School, visit the website at shswarsaw.org.