Submitted by Justin Knull - Instructional Technology Specialist
Shiawassee RESD - REMC 14W
The REMC Association is supporting the partnership between Google and the Michigan Film and Digital Media Office to bring Google’s Computer Science First clubs to students across the State of Michigan, and on January 29th, 300+ 4th-8th graders from all across Michigan gathered at the Breslin Center in East Lansing to participate in the first ever statewide launch of Google’s CS First program.
The program began with a short video presentation from the Michigan Film and Digital Media Office and an introduction from Google’s representative about how excited they were to hold the first ever statewide launch of their program in Larry Page’s hometown of East Lansing.
Students then had the opportunity to rotate between numerous interactive stations and hand-on activities that demonstrated some of the options a computer science background could lead to in their futures. Stations were provided by different groups from MSU, Google, ITEC, Pixo Group, Strength in Numbers Studios, Boy Scouts of America, and Square One. Students were able to get hands on demonstrations with Google Cardboard and other technology developed by Google and play a collection of games developed by the GameDev@MSU team, which is one of the Top 10 Game Development schools in the country. Students also had a lot of fun trying out the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset on games that are in development and getting their first ride on a Segway. In all, there were ten interactive stations where students could witness firsthand some of the options a computer science background could open up for them in the future, and their excitement was awesome to watch. Check out #MiCSFirst on Twitter for more.
Although the official statewide launch has passed, it is not too late to get started with a CS First Club at your school this year. The application to join the Michigan Film and Digital Media Office partnership is available here. The program is 100% free, and club leaders don’t need to have a computer science background. You can try out sample lessons and read more here, but go ahead, get your club started now… and cross your fingers that this event was the First Annual Statewide Launch.