The GenZeal project is an after-school program where students learn design thinking, applied computational thinking, and programming skills to solve a problem in their community. Students research and work with local organizations and businesses to design and program microcontrollers that run entirely on renewable energy sources to solve a specific need. Through the process, students earn physical and digital badges for each skill they learn and apply with their project. Students learn applied design thinking, computational thinking, and open-source programming languages. They use what they learn to design, prototype, and program their project. The student projects are installed in the community and they monitor their use in conjunction with the community coach.
I will provide details and examples of this project that can be replicated in small through large school districts, rural and urban. I will also explain how our school district redefined our curriculum from little computer science concepts to purposeful, applied PreK-12 computer science principles.