$1 million grant will support Wyo. schools and libraries computer science education

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CASPER, Wyo. — The National Science Foundation has awarded a grant of about $1 million “to support the inclusion of computer science education in Wyoming schools and libraries.”

That is according the the University of Wyoming, who is sponsoring the grant.

“The grant…will be branded as Wyoming’s Schools and Libraries Integrating Computer Science Education (WySLICE) and will prepare 150 K-8 teachers and state librarians from all disciplines to integrate computer science into their curricula,” UW said in a Thursday, Aug. 8 news release.

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The grant will support Wyoming schools and libraries through 2022.

“The Wyoming Legislature recently mandated that computer science instruction be provided in K-12 schools by 2022,” UW said. “The grant application was backed with letters of support from former Gov. Matt Mead, Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow and 17 other partners.”

The grant will help kindergarten through eighth grade teachers include computer science when they instruct students in the following topics: science, technology, engineering, mathematics and social science.

UW adds that the cirricula being developed will include things like cybersecurity and technology’s role in social issues like voting.

“’Computer science is rapidly becoming a need-to-know competency for all,’” UW College of Engineering and Applied Science Assistant Professor Mike Borowczak says. “’WySLICE will study how to enable our students and communities to be exposed to fundamental computer science concepts in an integrated fashion that goes beyond just programming.’”

Borowczak headed the grant application. He’ll also be leading research into the project.

“Borowczak leads the WySLICE core principal investigator team and is joined by three other UW faculty members from the College of Education; College of Engineering and Applied Science; and College of Arts and Sciences,” UW adds. “The project also assembles a network improvement community composed of partners from UW, community colleges, Wyoming school districts, the Wyoming State Library System, the Wyoming Department of Education and local software development firms.”

Giving Wyoming students computer skills and knowledge is important in the modern world, according to UW.

“’Our technology-driven society will require a workforce with an ability to work with, diagnose, repair and develop computationally backed systems, and all industries and disciplines are looking to leverage the power of advanced computing,’ Borowczak says.”