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Savanna Oaks teacher awarded $10,000 grant to further computer science education: Karie Huttner one of 10 educators nationwide selected for award | Community


Karie Huttner

A teacher at Savanna Oaks Middle School was one of 10 teachers recognized nationwide in June for their efforts to incorporate computer science and technology into their classrooms and curriculum, earning a $10,000 grant for at the Fitchburg school.

Savanna Oaks Thinking and Technology instructor Karie Huttner learned about the honor earlier this summer, and she plans to use the grant to apply several different technologies, including laser cutting and 3D printing, to bring design thinking to the learning experiences of his students. .

Maker learning provides youth with tools, technology, and materials for building, creating, and creating in the classroom.

Huttner plans to give her middle school students the opportunity to teach and collaborate with elementary school students on this grant-funded project.

On June 28, the New York City-based Infosys Foundation USA announced the 10 teachers nationwide recognized as 2022 Infy Makers Awards winners, and Huttner is one of the teachers from California, Connecticut, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio , and Pennsylvania to choose from. .

The Infy Makers Awards are open to K-12 educators seeking to engage students in computer science through maker education. Each winner will receive a $10,000 grant and the opportunity to participate in the Making Computer Science Inclusive professional learning experience led by the nonprofit educational organization Digital Promise.

The Infy Maker Awards are part of the Foundation’s focus on supporting maker education.

Grant money can be used for a variety of purposes including purchasing materials and equipment, instituting structural improvements, facilitating projects for students, conducting impact research and evaluation. , or doing community outreach and engagement.

Huttner says he seeks to elevate, educate, and celebrate young designers and makers in his classroom by offering 3D printing, video game design, robotics, computer science, and information technology.

“Earlier this spring, I applied for the Infy Maker grant with the help of Kevin Chukel, our substitute building teacher and owner of Picnic Point Productions, to document my dream of expanding Maker Education and Computer Science for my middle school students but also at our neighboring elementary school by teaching my designers to different groups,” Huttner wrote in his classroom blog on June 30. “We started it with 3D printing and design with kindergartners using the bubble wand project, but this grant will give us more materials to continue this teaching and expand our technologies and collaborations.

Huttner said earning this award would not have been possible without Chukel’s “amazing camera work” through his business Picnic Point Productions.

The first phase of mentoring is funded by the Verona Area Education Foundation.

The proposals of the teachers on how they plan to use the grant money were judged by the Infosys Foundation based on four categories, namely: innovative approaches to make education, strength of proposed plans, impact, and quality of presentations.

“These award-winning teachers are recognized for creating hands-on, experiential, and inclusive opportunities for students to learn computer science in personally meaningful ways, helping their students understand how how it relates to the real world and their lives,” the June 28 Infosys news release stated. “With determination and unwavering commitment to their students, these teachers do this hard work despite the ongoing challenges of COVID-19 and educational inequity. These teachers work with underserved students services in Title 1 schools and in rural communities.They also serve students who are neurodiverse or have disabilities.

The Infosys Foundation USA was established in 2015 with the mission of expanding access to computer science and performance education for K-12 students and teachers in public schools across the United States, with a specific focus on increasing access to underrepresented communities, according to its website.

“The Infosys Foundation USA’s Infy Maker Awards competition is open to K-12 educators who use maker education to create equitable pathways for students to participate in computer science,” says the contest’s website. . “Across the US, many teachers in K-12 classrooms are trying to create more opportunities for their students to participate in meaningful design experiences that involve them in computer science. However, these teachers also face challenges and obstacles, be it a limitation of resources or opportunities to build relationships with like-minded peers.

To help them overcome some of their challenges and barriers to engaging computer science students, in addition to Huttner receiving the $10,000 grant, up to three teachers from Savanna Oaks will have the opportunity to participate in Making Computer Science Inclusive Cohort. The cohort is a multi-month professional learning experience sponsored by the nonprofit Digital Promise, which will take place in August and September and will consist of virtual monthly sessions and one-on-one regular sessions. to teach.

“These teachers are the heart and soul of the maker community and deserve the resources to provide their students with an impactful hands-on experience in computer science,” Infosys wrote in an Instagram post in June. 28 announcing the winners of the Infy Maker Award. “Creator education provides a path for all students from different cultures and backgrounds, to participate in computer science, and it is the foundation’s mission to open paths for students who are eager and ready to learn.”

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