Governor, State Superintendent and Chief Information Officer highlight innovative education at Technology Showcase

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Gov. Doug Burgum, Chief Information Officer Shawn Riley and State Superintendent Kirsten Baesler today participated in the biennial K-12 Education Technology Showcase in the Capitol’s Memorial Hall. The Showcase is an opportunity for schools from around the state to highlight best practices and innovative approaches to technology in K-12 education. Ten schools were selected to participate based on topic and best practices. Participants included:

  • Alexander School – STEAM Focused Technology
  • Bowman County Elementary School – Alive Studios
  • Bismarck High Schools – Initiative, Inquiry, and Innovation
  • Fargo Centennial Elementary School – Centennial’s Cardboard Capitol Arcade
  • Grand Forks Central High School – Girls Who Code
  • Lisbon Elementary School – Bronco Newscast
  • Lisbon, LaMoure, and Litchville-Marion Schools – SmartLabs: Project Based Learning
  • Hatton, Emerado, Aneta, and Northwood Schools – Thunder Robotics
  • New Town Edwin Loe Elementary School – After School Lego Robotics
  • Cando North Star School – Destination: Deep Space Robots
  • Richland County Elementary School – Interactive Wax Museum

“By encouraging students to ask good questions, be courageously curious and explore technology, we will also help them create the next generation of devices, applications and software to transform our world,” said Burgum. “We applaud the teachers and administrators who are inspiring a love of learning in our students and helping North Dakota be a leader in innovative education.”

Four students and a teacher were also recognized as National Center for Women & IT (NCWIT) Aspirations in Computing award recipients. NCWIT, a partner in the state’s K-20W Initiative, provides girls and women with ongoing engagement, visibility, and encouragement for their computing-related interests and achievements. Award recipients included:

  • Alyssa Kemp from Cavalier High School - Honorable Mention;
  • Kayla Rotondi from Ellendale High School - Rising Star Award;
  • Maigan Wilmes from Century High School and Natasha Willardson from Williston High School - Technology Aspirations Award; and
  • Amanda Skinner, a math and science teacher from Williston High School - ND/SD Regional Educator Honorable Mention in Technology Aspirations.

“Providing hands-on opportunities to explore technology through project-based, collaborative efforts makes learning more meaningful and fun,” said Baesler. “Technology skills are valuable regardless of future career path, and we are proud of the accomplishments of all of our students here demonstrating innovative uses of technology.”

Each of the 10 Showcase schools and award recipients also received Boe-Bots, which use open-source Arduino computing boards and are programmed using PSBASIC programming languages. The Boe-Bot serves as a good introduction to both robotics and electronics and does not require any prior knowledge of robotics, electronics or programming. The Boe-Bots were donated by the National Integrated Cyber Research Education Center (NICERC) as part of $175,000 entrusted to EduTech as NICERC’s first national training partner. The equipment is part of NICERC’s role offering grant-funded cyber, STEM and computer science curricula and professional development to K-12 educators free of charge.

North Dakota will also be one of 26 states participating in the 2019 SANS Girls Go Cyber Start program. The program, which includes a suite of challenges, tools and games, is designed to help introduce young women in high school and college to the field of cybersecurity. More details on how to participate, including registration information, will be announced by the Governor’s Office later this month.

ITD, DPI, and sponsors NICERC and Microsoft are some of the more than 40 public and private sector organizations that are part of the “K-20W Initiative.” K-20W, which stands for “kindergarten through PhD and workforce,” is advancing statewide efforts to provide computer science and cybersecurity training and resources to North Dakota’s educators and students. Building a 21st century workforce is one of the three pillars of Gov. Burgum’s Main Street Initiative, along with creating healthy, vibrant communities with smart, efficient infrastructure.

“Providing training and resources through partnerships with NICERC, NCWIT, Code.org and other organizations is helping empower students and teachers to explore the world of technology,” said Riley. “We are grateful for all of the innovative efforts happening across our state that are inspiring students to learn more about technology.”

The Showcase was sponsored by EduTech, the North Dakota Educational Technology Council, the North Dakota Center for Distance Education, the Department of Public Instruction, the National Integrated Cyber Research Education Center (NICERC), Dakota Carrier Network, the North Dakota Association for Technology Leaders, North Dakota State University, Microsoft, the North Dakota Council of Education Leaders, and Prairie Public Broadcasting.

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