group photo TRTechReady summer
The district's TR:TechReady Summer 2019 Coding Camp featured numerous guests, mentors, and field experts.

Literally ... New Courses in Coding Languages Set for 2019-2020 

Aug. 12, 2019-- More than 100 students, their families, teaching staff and community mentors gathered to celebrate the wrap-up of two weeks of the Office of Naval Research (ONR)-funded TR:TechReady coding camp. Students learned alongside educators from Toms River Regional Schools six different coding languages: Python, R, Arduino/C++, HTML5/Javascript, Unity, and Swift. These languages were used in each camp to solve problems aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and to connect design thinking with global problem-solving.

Each day students enthusiastically arrived to work with dedicated experts from the field, special guests, and mentors. Highlights included:

  • a visit from Victor La Bozzetta, a System Engineer from Apple Education who shared his personal journey rising through the ranks at Apple as well as the architecture of technology platforms and how they work together
  • weekly visits from the Office of Naval Research and Navair mentors specializing in each coding language offering support, insight and next steps
  • pop-up skill sessions with Assistant Superintendent Dr. Marc Natanagara on Problem Solving and the Maker Mindset; Supervisor of Educational Technology Tiffany Lucey on Augmented Reality and UN Sustainable Development Goals using the Merge Cube and HP Reveal; and Principal Investigator and Toms River Regional Schools Technology Educator Suzanne Signorelli on Machine Learning using teachablemachine.withgoogle.com

Going forward, here in the district, the languages will be used as follows:

  • Arduino/C++ is used for physical computing. The Internet of Things is the extension of internet connectivity into physical devices and everyday objects. Embedded with electronics, internet connectivity, and other forms of hardware, these devices can communicate and interact with others over the internet, and they can be remotely monitored and controlled. Students may find these in Computer Science and Robotics courses grades 7-12.
  • R will be used in Statistics and Authentic Science Research classes for data analysis.
  • HTML5/Javascript is being brought to a whole new level in Web Design Courses.
  • Unity is used for game design in augmented and virtual reality. Next year, Digital Arts Academy students will bridge their knowledge of CAD (Computer-Aided Design) with their design of objects in Multimedia and web design for a capstone game design opportunity.
  • XCode and Swift programming is used to develop apps on Apple devices. This pilot will be integrated across multiple disciplines by our newly-trained educators.
  • Finally, Python, one of the most popular and multipurpose coding languages, is being used as the foundation for the new course, Introduction to Computer Science, Programming and Applications, being offered at each high school. This course-- funded by a grant from the New Jersey Department of Education-- is intended as an introductory course for students at all levels to learn about networks, security, databases, computational thinking, physical computing, and real-world applications. Dual enrollment credit with Ocean County College is available.

The momentum of coding, computer science, and hands-on, problem-based learning continues into fall and at one of the district’s marquee events. www.JerseyShoreMakerfest.org is 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12, and the district invites all who are interested to attend the free event and learn from educators. Students can receive a quick introductory lesson in each of these languages in the Coding Collaboratory Corner.

The district also encourages all students and families to keep their eyes on www.trschools.com/curriculum/techready for more student opportunities, competitions, field experiences and student presentations of original research. If anyone is interested in partnering by providing ongoing student mentoring, field experiences, activity support and guest teachers that promote career interest in STEAM and coding, they can contact tlucey@trschools.com.

TRTR 2019 camp main