New and Revised Classes!
Forecasting is coming quickly, and the Information Science department has been hard at work this year revising curriculum and developing new classes for the 2018-19 school year. These changes represent the second stage in our ongoing process of developing a more robust technology program for young women. The first stage began last fall with adding a Frosh Tech Camp before school started and moving Digital Literacy to first semester for all freshmen.
Here’s a quick peek at the classes.
- “Technology Foundations” (formerly Digital Literacy) will still be a first-semester class for all 9th graders and will be part of the Integrated rotation. First quarter will remain devoted to on-boarding 9th graders to using iPads for learning and offering a survey of creative applications of technology. But second quarter curriculum will focus exclusively on a survey of basics in computer science. The goal is to ensure that all SMA 9th graders gain a basic understanding of computer science concepts and a chance to explore some of the many applications of that field.
- “Intro to Computer Science” will become a one-semester class intended for students who wish to further explore computer science concepts. Students will learn fundamental computer science principles and then work with hardware, such as Arduino or Raspberry Pi, with a focus on acquiring data from the real world and then learning how to analyze that data by coding with the Python language. This will not only be a great foundation for future computer science classes, but will be useful for students interested in scientific research.
- “Computer Science Principles” (formerly the year-long Intro to Computer Science class) has been renovated to be a year-long class designed to take students to the next level with computer science. Students will explore algorithms, data types, and basic data structures through projects, guest speakers, and field trips as applicable, and will be encouraged to pursue individual interests as well. Students who wish to take this class must have taken either Intro to Computer Science, Web Design, or App Design, or be able to demonstrate to the computer science teacher that they have sufficient computer science background to move directly into this class. Computer Science Principles can also serve as a math credit for a student who chooses to take it instead of a fourth math class.
Graphic Design, Marketing, and Media Communications classes will also continue to be offered as part of the Information Science curriculum.
On December 5-7, SMA held its third annual Computer Science Week which included Hour of Code sessions, a Design Thinking session, and two panels of amazing women from local technology companies who talked about their work in technology fields. The week was unfortunately cut short by winter weather, but was a great success nonetheless.
On January 25, the Information Science Department invited three experts from Oregon Storyboard, The Program, and DotDotDash, Inc., to visit SMA to talk about Augmented and Virtual Reality. They demonstrated one of their augmented reality projects during lunch in the Commons, and then had an in-depth conversation with the computer science class about future applications of these technologies.
On February 7, ten incredible faculty and students from our technology, Robotics, TIES, Science Olympiad, and SRM programs held a panel discussion about how SMA supports young women in STEM fields. The panel took place at the Heritage Center at Marylhurst University. Attendees were impressed by the poise and strength of the SMA students on the panel, and by their stories about how being in an all-girl’s program has increased their confidence in science and technology.