BCILD is very pleased to announce a collaboration with the Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management at Denver University (DU) Daniels College of Business, the African Community Center (ACC), and Dawson School middle school students in the development of a middle school curriculum on refugees.
Focusing on the extraordinary challenges displaced people face in their daily lives, students will help in developing a curriculum for middle schools. Topics covered include understanding how a refugee situation develops, how people cope with this traumatic event, and what steps they take to attempt to change their lives. Students will meet with refugees who have settled in the U.S.A. from around the world in this groundbreaking study in understanding this very complex topic.
BCILD worked with Dawson School lower and middle divisions to test NOAA's new SOS Explorer prototype online offering for the classroom. NOAA offers a wide range of fascinating topics for curriculum enhancement. Student engagement was intense, and teachers added valuable perspectives to the product. Thank you to all participants, especially the students who had an opportunity to be involved in the development of a very useful learning tool!
Many people are familiar with the truly amazing Science on a Sphere (sos.noaa.gov/What_is_SOS/) installations around the USA, and internationally. Students of all ages have enjoyed learning about a multitude of scientific topics presented on a revolving globe.
NOAA is now making many interesting lessons available online through SOS Explorer (sos.noaa.gov/SOS_Explorer/). K-12 schools can now purchase classroom access to this valuable science learning tool. This welcome outreach is exactly in line with BCILD’s mission of bringing learning opportunities to all K-12 schools. BCILD will help promote this outreach product in 2017.
As part of our mission to create innovative open source learning resources for all teachers and students, BCILD is sponsoring Bitsbox (bitsbox.com) coding opportunities in local Boulder Colorado area public elementary schools. At Escuela Bilingue Pioneer Elementary in Lafayette, technology teacher Alberto Gaspar-Jimenez has been introducing the program to students.
BCILD: Why do you think introducing Bitsbox technology is useful in a student’s education?
Gaspar- Jimenez: Bitsbox is very useful because it is very well designed and is engaging for students. Bitsbox seems to me like a great platform for elementary students to start coding so they can move on to even more challenging coding projects in the future.
BCILD: What changes have you seen in how a student approaches coding after using Bitsbox?
Gaspar-Jimenez: I had my reservations when I first saw Bitsbox because I felt that they may not really learn the coding language because they were just copying what was spelled out for them in the books. However, after a couple of sessions with my students I realized that copying was just the beginning. As soon as they felt comfortable, they started changing parts of the code, applying some of it to their own made up projects, and understanding what the different numbers and symbols within the code they were copying meant. My students became much more analytical than I have ever seen them before with other coding projects.
The students enthusiastically embraced this coding opportunity.
BCILD: Do you think having some coding experience can change your life? If yes, how?
Lucas, 4th grade: Yes, I do. I think that if you have lots of experience with coding it will make it much easier to get hired for a job that requires coding. Also, coordinates have helped me a lot because now I understand them better and we have recently been doing a unit on that in math.
Henry, 3rd grade: I definitely think it could. It would be a great job to have. Just my coding could change the world.
Joli, 3rd grade: Yes, because if you already have coding experience then it will be easier to get a computer job.
BCILD: Have you enjoyed using Bitsbox? Why?
Laurel, 5th grade: Yes, because it makes me even more excited to code. I think that it is a great thing for kids and adults, and it has been great playing around with it. I have enjoyed it because you can personalize the game by changing the code.
Lucas, 4th grade: Yes, I liked using Bitsbox because there’s a lot of math and I liked being able to change the code.
Wyatt, 5th grade: Yes! Because I love coding. It’s way more fun to make the game and then play it instead of just playing it.
A central tenet of BCILD’s work is connecting schools with opportunities in their local communities. We are very happy to announce that we are conducting pilot programs in several local elementary public schools offering coding opportunities to students both during the school day, and in after-school enrichment programs. Bitsbox, a local Boulder startup has a wonderful selection of coding opportunities both for home and school use. BCILD is sponsoring local schools with Bitsbox educator coding packs. Bitsbox: https://bitsbox.com/teachers/
Jovita Schiffer, the Sanchez School Family Resource and Learning Center Director in the Boulder Valley School District (BVSD), states: “Bitsbox is new to most of our students and we are excited be using it during day school with our Sanchez media teacher, and in our after-school program as part of our Coding class. The more we can expose our students to new concepts and skills around technology, the closer we can come to closing the opportunity gaps that many of our students face”.
Watch this exciting and innovative documentary on design thinking in middle school. This film captures the essence of design thinking as children engage creative energy in designing new product ideas for Kodo Kids, a company making classroom manipulatives for the preschool market. Students worked diligently through building empathy for the company’s users, and collaborated on developing fascinating products for their audience. BCILD worked with the Dawson School sixth grade team to create this project to encourage K-12 schools to embed design thinking activities in their academic pursuits.
Do you know what this is?
This is a Bee Box provided by the University of Colorado (CU) The Bees Needs, a citizen scientist project in Boulder County. Dawson School fifth grade teacher Brenda Lord has this box outside her classroom. Brenda states: “It is important for students to be involved in citizen science projects so they understand that their observations and work have an impact on current scientific research.
This empowerment makes them more thoughtful about their actions, and they are more likely to educate their families and peers about issues for which they have developed a passion.”
This particular interaction between schools and resources in their communities clearly communicates BCLID’s mission in building bridges of learning and opportunity between schools, and their local community resources. In this case, middle school students participating in, and gaining an understanding of, how scientific fieldwork is collected, analyzed, and interpreted, enhances their experience of what the field of scientific study is in practice.
The BEES NEEDS: http://beesneeds.colorado.edu/
This blog was originally published on the Cultivation Center website. It is shared here with permission from the author, Blair Young, who is the Communications & Connections Director at Cultivation Center. BCILD is proud to be working with this certified B Corp and boutique capacity building center for socially purposed organizations.
There are many fun aspects to working with a newly formed nonprofit: a founder’s enthusiasm, the momentum behind possibility, and the opportunity to try something new- to name a few. Contrary to a now languishing belief, nonprofits can behave like start-ups. Often it is fledgling organizations that adopt a start-up mind-set, leveraging their capacity for innovation in pursuit of the most effective way to fulfill their mission. One such organization is Boulder Center for Interactive Learning at Dawson (BCILD). Cultivation Center is fortunate to be working with BCILD to help develop and launch the organization’s first one-year fundraising plan. Building a plan with a new organization is a stirring and regenerative experience where we get to take what we know works and breath new life into it via the start-up spirit. Talk about fun!
BCILD investigates how to best serve the needs of children in a post-industrial learning environment. The organization is at a crossroads in its first year of growth. With a 3-pronged approach to carrying out its work, the organization has the riches for cogent messaging targeted at passionate donors but needs a no-nonsense fundraising plan to help them connect with the greater community. Much like a start-up, the organization is ready launch out of beta mode into serious pursuit of its goal. To do so, BCILD needs proof for its handful of founding major donors that it can diversify its funding base. This is something that any young nonprofit is required to do legally, and must do in order to survive and, ultimately, thrive.
Delivering concepts like design-thinking, or interaction with the arts via technology, to dispersed students is no easy task. In fact, it is an endeavor that can transform classrooms. Fortunately, BCILD benefits from a significant affiliation with The Dawson School, a premiere independent school in Boulder County. Dawson is BCILD’s ground zero for exercising its mission in a resource laden environment while testing student and community learning partnerships. But BCILD’s bigger aspiration is to share its curriculum with all students while creating deeper partnerships between schools and their local community. As founder and director David Sutton says “the entire community benefits when all children are given opportunities to interact widely, and learn vital life skills.” So, at this early growth stage, how do we find donors who are poised to support BCILD’s mission? By pairing the organization’s wildly innovative work with a tool that is proven and reliable: A responsive fundraising plan driven by a calendar of events and supported by by tried and true practices- including ongoing major donor cultivation, a social media presence pointed at specific donor personas, and, of course, saying “Thank you!” a lot.
Among the thousands of socially-purposed organization’s that “start-up” in our “sky’s the limit” business environment, BCILD is both aspirational and promising. If you’re as excited about BCILD as we are, take a moment to learn more about the organization’s work and consider how you might support BCILD as it grows.
Photo Credit: Rocksee
Do you love to shop on Amazon? Do you love BCILD? Wrap your arms around both by shopping on Amazon Smile! As of today, you can now select BCILD as an Amazon Smile beneficiary so that every time you buy online 0.5% of your purchase will support innovative approaches and ideas in education.
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