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Competition in Education Supports Computational Thinking

Wednesday, December 11, 2019 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm EST

Competition in Education Supports Computational Thinking

Presented by Dr. Todd Ensign, Program Manager, Education Resource Center, NASA’s Katherine Johnson IV&V Facility, Fairmont, WV; and Stephanie Oster, STEM Teacher, The Benjamin School, North Palm Beach, FL
Hosted by Graham Celine, Vice President of Marketing, Intelitek

Sponsored by CoderZ

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Learning through competition can help develop and nurture students within the paradigm of computational thinking. In this edWebinar, we discuss how competitions help new generations of students with self-expression and the ability to analyze and solve problems. During competitions, students are pushed beyond their comfort zone, in the public arena, with public speaking, and more.

We also discuss the field of educational robotics and its roots in the constructionist philosophy of Seymour Papert. Since the partnership between the MIT Media Lab and LEGO®, the Mindstorms ER platform has spawned generations of tools and tournaments to engage students, but it has reached only a handful of students due to the limitations of time, cost, hardware, and more. In today’s world, it is essential that our students are able to identify and solve problems by leveraging the power of computing and coding, i.e. computational thinking.

How can your classroom or school participate in a competition? What if you don’t have dedicated coding or robotics instructors? How can you inherently prepare students for the challenges ahead, and allow students to engage in peer to peer teaching, problem-solving, and team communication?

In this edWebinar, we cover the impact of learning through competition on students’ knowledge, skills, and career path. This recorded edWebinar will be of interest to middle school teachers, school and district leaders, STEM coordinators, computer science coordinators, and robotics and ASP coordinators.

Todd EnsignAbout the Presenters

Dr. Todd Ensign is the program manager of the Education Resource Center at NASA’s Katherine Johnson IV&V Facility in Fairmont, West Virginia. Todd has been developing and delivering professional development in STEM for 20 years, and with his team at NASA, trains over 1,000 educators and students, loans classroom kits, and manages 12 unique competitive robotics programs in West Virginia that impact over 20,000 students annually. He is the proud father of an amazing seven-year-old son Ian, is the founder and president of the West Virginia Rocketry Association, and spends much of his free time trail running, rock climbing, skiing, and kayaking.


Stephanie OsterMrs. Stephanie Oster serves as the middle school science department chairperson, as well as a life science and marine biology teacher at The Benjamin School in North Palm Beach, Florida. She coordinates STEM initiatives regarding Florida ecology, life science, physics, chemistry, and marine biology. Stephanie integrates innovation and the application of STEM for all academic disciplines in the middle school community. She also engages the community in reverse engineering, robotics, biotechnology, engineering design, and most recently coding in the newly constructed Maglio Family STEM Center. She is a sign language interpreter and New Jersey certified as a highly qualified science teacher. Stephanie holds an M.S. in STEM education and a B.A. in marketing.


Join the Computer Science & STEM Learning community to network with educators, participate in online discussions, receive invitations to upcoming edWebinars, and view recordings of previous programs to earn CE certificates.

CoderZCoderZ is an innovative and fun learning platform for students to engage in robotics, computer science, and STEM to foster 21st-century skills. Using simulated 3D virtual robots, students solve missions that develop creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and an appreciation for technology. The Cyber Robotics Coding Competition (CRCC) is an online competition designed to be interactive and exciting as students learn how robots work and expand their knowledge of STEM careers.



Wednesday, December 11, 2019
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm EST
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