Libraries Ready to Code Beta Collection Release

I was excited to attend the release party for the beta version of ALA’s Ready to Code Collection at Annual a few weeks back. The beta site is based on the experiences of the 30 participating school and public librarians who have been developing and piloting strategies for creating and facilitating programs that build problem-solving and […]

The beta site is based on the experiences of the 30 participating school and public librarians who have been developing and piloting strategies for creating and facilitating programs that build problem-solving and critical thinking skills through computational thinking.

The cohort has spent the past 28 weeks hard at work, developing their resources and implementing Ready to Code principles. They workshopped their experiences in formal weekly meetings and as an online community, cheering and critiquing each other’s work. They now seek our feedback before the formal release of the full searchable collection sometime in Fall 2018.

You may want to begin your explorations of the Collection by identifying with one of five personas developed to help library staff connect with resources that reflect their own computational thinking (CT) experiences, communities, goals, and interests.

First Time Around

Good to Go

Heartfelt

Connecting Interests

Family Focused

The Ready to Code Collection gathers research-grounded resources and strategies that are aligned with core library values. Materials were developed, tested, and curated by the cohort librarians for other librarians to create, implement, and enhance their computer science programming for youth.

Among the resources, you will find:

  • Middle school library and technology staff working with local nonprofits to identify needs of local businesses and nonprofits and enabling young library users to fill those needs through applied coding projects.
  • high school librarian collaborating with a local music mentorship program to teach youth in special education classes how to code music with assistive technology.
  • Public librarians in a rural community teaching coding languages to help youth engineer and operate a FarmBot robotic gardener.
  • Elementary school librarians leading 4th–8th-grade students through an interest-based coding club and helping students to develop their own workshops showcasing their skills as coding mentors to K–3rd graders.

Following the release party, I chatted with a few of the folks behind the initiative:

Danielle Arnold, School Library Media Specialist of Belmar Elementary School, Belmar, NJ, shared that although she had no prior computer science experience, she was passionate about its importance. After being awarded the grant last October, she immediately pushed her project out with a schoolwide assembly. She expected around 40 students to show for her new after-school coding club for grades 4 through 8. Over 100 showed up.  The club planned for one day each week became a three day a week event.

Hai Hong, who leads Computer Science Education Outreach for Google, shared the program’s mission and Google’s excitement about its partnership with libraries.

Nicky Rigg, Computer Science Education Program Manager at Google, told me that each roll-out looked different.

Our job is to help organize the wealth of info that came from the cohort. We wanted the collection to represent ALA’s different youth divisions and diverse library programs and needs. We wanted to ensure that our resources were created by libraries for libraries and that we presented strategies that truly lowered barriers for libraries to introduce computational thinking to their communities.

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