Thursday, June 2, 2016

Coding Initiative in Wisconsin Public Libraries - Update

The official roll out of the Coding Initiative in Wisconsin Public Libraries begins fall 2016. This initiative focuses on increasing awareness of the whys and hows of coding for library staff and library users of all ages. What role does the public library have in learning and use of computational thinking? What resources are available to libraries? Are there nearby community organizations and/or schools that are doing similar projects or have resources libraries can use through partnerships? The initiative will look to provide answers to these questions.

Right now the biggest question might be what we mean when we say code? As stated on the Coding Initiative in Wisconsin Public Libraries web page,
When we say 'coding,' we mean not only coding and computer programming, but also coding as a literacy, as the ability to apply computational thinking for problem solving and stimulating creativity. More than anything, we want to increase awareness that coding concepts are for anyone and everyone.
The initiative will kick off with a screening of the documentary film CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap at 20 public libraries in the state. The documentary looks at the lack of female and minority software engineers, the historical context of this situation, and how would everyone benefit if this was not the case. Recently a poll went out asking Wisconsin public libraries if they would like to participate, as well as other questions regarding coding. The poll is still open for those that have not yet participate.

The Coding Initiative in Wisconsin Public Libraries is a DPI managed project using LSTA funds. There will be resources added to the web page over the course of the year. Community partners and school districts that are participating in coding and similar programs will be identified so public libraries can reach out for potential partnerships. WisCode Literati, one of the teams from the 2015 ILEAD USA - Wisconsin program and partner in this initiative, is presenting at conferences and holding workshops in public libraries around the state on materials and kits and resources for libraries doing coding programs with no tech, low tech, and hi tech options.

Look for more information about the initiative and the film screening in the next couple months.

Questions about the Coding Initiative in Wisconsin Public Libraries can be sent to Ryan Claringbole or Tessa Michaelson Schmidt.

Written by:
Ryan Claringbole, Public Library Development Team