NSF awards Melbourne based Codecraft Works SBIR Phase 1 grant to enhance understanding of STEM education and workforce development


MELBOURNE, Fla. – December 5, 2016 – Codecraft Works is awarded SBIR Phase I grant aimed at providing students access to computer science education to improve their math and reading skills, to better prepare them for college, and for them to develop critical 21st-century skills for the workforce. The mission of the SBIR program is to support scientific excellence and technological innovation through the investment of Federal research funds in critical American priorities to build a strong national economy. For the SBIR Phase 1 project, Hahna Kane Latonick will serve as the Principal Investigator.

Educators and administrators need new platforms of community and technical support to overcome modern STEM education challenges and accomplish critical goals. The Codecraft Works project is aimed at the design and development of an online software platform to enable educators to confidently teach computer science, engineering, and cybersecurity education in classrooms and community centers. The resulting software platform would enable rapid growth of after-school clubs, camps, evening classes, in-school field trips, workshops, and educational gaming.  “We believe the Codecraft Works proposed project to develop a computer science and engineering software platform for students and teachers will greatly benefit our schools,” said Joseph Loffek, Principal at Gemini Elementary School. Gemini Elementary was the first school in Florida to pilot Codecraft’s computer science curriculum.

This effort further democratizes the teaching of computer science and engineering concepts, thus addressing the talent gap that is leaving the United States behind in cybersecurity and in the world economy. Sabal Elementary school is a Florida Title 1 school in Brevard and their principal Stephanie Hall adds, “It’s an important and natural step to offer continuing opportunities and support to our talented teachers, who are eager to learn more about computer programming education and share that knowledge with students.”

The online software platform will easily connect, attract, and foster the exchange, co-creation, and delivery of cross-curricular, educational computing literacy resources aligned with national and state educational standards. Analytics and metrics will be applied and developed to gain insight into the support needed for effective instruction. Instructors will be able to develop rich, dynamic, and engaging content, allowing secondary and elementary students to actively participate with the material and to assess their understanding. Students using the platform will also get access to expert mentors for debugging help, code review, and to ask questions.

“Offering schools the opportunity to explore cutting-edge interdisciplinary creative coding curriculum, best practices and to make meaningful professional connections will directly benefit students,” advised Lori Chaplin Masterson, Principal, Surfside Elementary.

Educators will able to communicate best practices to ensure continuous access to high-quality computer literacy resources. As a result, the platform provides superior pedagogy for secondary and elementary school students learning computer science, engineering, and cyber security. An initial alpha launch, a pilot study and analytical data gathering will be conducted throughout Phase 1 to study the efficacy of the proposed solution.

Another early adopter of Codecraft services was Indialantic elementary school. Principal Lori Braga said, “Experiencing first-hand the success of the Codecraft Club after-school program, we’re confident that the team has the experience and the expertise required to create an online software platform, which will support teachers in the many challenges of implementing quality computer science and engineering curriculum in a fun and impactful way.”

Codecraft Works is a technology company solving entrepreneurial and technical challenges since 2011. Working in partnership with the non-profit Codecraft Lab, Codecraft Works has seen the power of its technology and curriculum at work and allowed incubation of our platform assumptions while providing a valuable donation of talent and technical innovation to impact a critical mission.

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