Since 2020, the Computer Science Opportunities, Development and Education in Rural Schools (CODERS) Project has brought STEM education to southwest Missouri schools.
The third cohort of the project for the 2023-24 school year has begun, with a successful summer launch from June 5-8.
Connecting STEM and Writing
The CODERS Project works with rural school districts, teachers and students to level the playing field with materials, tools, support and professional development to engage students in computer science, STEM and 21st century literacy.
It began in 2021, thanks to a five-year, $4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education. It is led by project director Dr. Keri Franklin, professor of English and director of the Ozarks Writing Project.
Since then, the CODERS Project has worked with two cohorts of rural teachers in Missouri for a total of 33 educators and they’re only getting started.
Sparking inspiration in young minds
The CODERS Project has several lessons planned for this academic year.
He is leading the project’s computer science lessons by both creating them and implementing them into the curriculum for the academic year.
With the course content intended for students in grades 3-8, Iqbal’s lessons and activities aim to make computer science and coding fun, engaging and easy to understand for young minds.
Lesson subjects include:
- Block coding.
- Robot dogs.
- Smart home sensors.
“These lessons offer easy to understand applications and hands-on projects that connect computer science to real-world scenarios. This helps us demonstrate how computer science is relevant to everyday life,” Iqbal said. “Interactive and hands-on activities encourage active participation and exploration, fostering a sense of curiosity among teacher participants and their students.”
In addition to Iqbal’s direct efforts, CNAS as a whole has made much of this project possible.
“CNAS and computer science department administrators have been supportive with allocating our required resources, such as classrooms and labs for summer workshops and technical/IT support throughout the week-long summer workshops,” Iqbal said.
Leading the CODERS Project
The CODERS Council leads this project. Members are experts in computer science, physics, math, English, reading, education, evaluation and technical writing.
Council members include: