CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- Ben Schafer, associate professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Northern Iowa, was recognized at the Code.org annual summit for training 570 teachers in Iowa, which is equivalent to 5.5 percent of all U.S. teachers trained. Schafer ranked No. 2 in the "500 Club," which is a Code.org affiliate of trainers who trained more than 500 teachers in the first year of the program.
"I love my time conducting training workshops with teachers," said Schafer. "The excitement and energy around this curriculum and computer science in general has been fantastic. I have already started conducting workshops for this school year and hope to once again be in the '500 Club.'"
Launched in 2013, Code.org is a nonprofit dedicated to expanding access to computer science and increasing participation by women and underrepresented students. The organization's vision is that every student in every school should have the opportunity to learn computer science, and that computer science should be part of core curriculum, alongside other courses such as biology, chemistry or algebra.
"In addition to my regular teaching duties, I am partnered with Code.org as an affiliate trainer for their new K through 5 Computer Science Curriculum," said Schafer. "As part of this I will be conducting free, one-day training workshops around the state of Iowa. When Code.org released the Code Studio Curriculum in 2014, I knew that this was a great curriculum that could do wonderful things when it comes to getting more kids involved with computer science."
As part of Schafer's outreach projects, this fall he is teaching a course for Lifelong University at UNI called "Overview of Computer Science Programming with Scratch" for adult learners to learn about computer programming. For more information on this Lifelong University course, visit www.uni.llu. Schafer also helped start the Cedar Valley CoderDojo program offered in the Waterloo and Cedar Falls public libraries to get kids ages 7 to 17 interested in computer programing. For more information on the CoderDojo program, visit www.coderdojocv.org.