READING, Pa. — The Penn State Berks Flemming Creativity, Entrepreneurship, and Economic Development (CEED) Center will hold its fifth Creative Game Programing Workshop for Reading School District middle school students enrolled in the Penn State Educational Partnership Program (PEPP). The workshop will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 5.
One of the main objectives of the program is to increase girls’ interest in careers in information technology. According to program co-organizer Sadan Kulturel-Konak, director of the Flemming CEED Center and professor of management information systems, underrepresentation of women and minorities has been an important concern in computing related fields.
"We are aiming not only to promote computer science to middle school girls but also to demonstrate that computer programming is a foundational skill for many other careers," explained Kulturel-Konak.
This day-long program will expose middle school students to computational thinking. In the morning session, students will explore computational thinking concepts (sequence, loops, events, logic, operators and data); computer science practices (working iteratively and incrementally, testing and debugging), and program design.
In the afternoon session, participants will complete a project by designing a simple game using the Scratch programming language, designed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab especially for students ages 8 to 16. Scratch has an intuitive interface and allows students to create computer programs and animations by assembling Lego-style blocks together.
The program organizers will collect data about students’ perceptions of information-technology-related careers.
“Students show tremendous interest in this workshop, and we are always amazed with how much they can learn and achieve within a day,” said Kulturel-Konak.
The Penn State Educational Partnership Program (PEPP) is an early-intervention collaboration between Penn State Berks and the Reading School District. The mission of the program is to enhance academic preparedness and motivation levels in its Reading School District participants to pursue higher education.
For more information on the workshop or the Flemming CEED Center, contact Kulturel-Konak at 610-396-6137 or via email at [email protected].