North Dakota’s EduTech, the K-12 educational technology arm of the state’s Information Technology Department, has established formal partnerships with the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) and Code.org®. The partnerships help advance statewide efforts to provide computer science and cybersecurity training and resources to North Dakota’s educators and students.
NCWIT is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating access to authentic, inclusive computing education for every girl in the United States. Code.org® is a nonprofit dedicated to expanding access to computer science in schools and also to increasing participation by women and underrepresented minorities.
“As a father, empowering all of our students and inspiring curiosity by promoting technology in the classroom is incredibly important to me,” said Chief Information Office Shawn Riley. “These partnerships enable our teachers and students to explore the endless career opportunities that exist in a world where virtually every industry is being impacted by technology.”
The partnerships are part of an ongoing statewide effort involving more than 40 organizations from North Dakota’s educational, workforce, military and information technology sectors to create a multi-faceted, comprehensive approach to computer science and cybersecurity education and workforce training, termed “K-20W.”
The NCWIT alliance creates new opportunities for the state’s K-20W efforts, including increased awareness about technology awards for teachers and students, social media kits, participation in professional development conferences and leveraging the network of more than 200 NCWIT partner organizations.
Code.org® will help provide training and resources to K-12 educators. Elementary school educators were provided training in six locations throughout the state in November 2018. Additional training opportunities for elementary educators will take place this spring, and training for middle and high school educators will be scheduled for this coming summer.
“We are proud to partner with EduTech and TIE to expand Code.org’s® trainings. This effort will help get more teachers teaching computer science, which is a crucial subject our students need to succeed in the digital economy,” said Taya Spelhaug, Microsoft TechSpark Manager for North Dakota. "Computer science encourages critical thinking and gives youth the tools to create and invent – skills that will help them in their careers and bring more innovation to our state.”
EduTech worked with Microsoft TechSpark to sponsor the state’s first simultaneous, statewide Hour of Code in December 2018 with more than 6,000 students participating across 100 schools. Separately,EduTech partnered with the National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center (NICERC) last year, which certified EduTech as its first-in-the-nation official training partner.