Engineer Factory Computer Science Equity Program
Computer Science Equity—the Dept of Labor projects by 2030 2/3 of jobs will require computer science skills; but less than 12% of Title I schools offer computer science classes. Engineer Factory Computer Science Equity program helps students in Title I schools: 1) Build a Piper computer & earn UCSD credential; 2) learn coding using Code.org curriculum; 3) receive coaching from Cal State LA faculty and engineering students to pass the AP Computer Science exams; and 4) learn to build a functioning desktop computer that the students will keep.
Please list the organizations collaborating on this proposal.
Cal State Los Angeles College of Engineering, Computer Science and Technology
What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?
K-12 STEAM Education
In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?
Pilot or new project, program, or initiative
What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?
Computer science (CS) drives job growth and innovation throughout our economy and society. Computing is used all around us and in virtually every field. While 51% of U.S. high schools teach CS courses, less than 11% of Title I schools offer CS classes. We need to improve access for groups who have traditionally been underrepresented. • Students who learn computer science in high school are 6X more likely to major in it, and women are 10X more likely. • Only 32,235 AP CS exams taken by high schoolers in 2020. Only 32% were taken by female students. Only 22% were take by Latinx students and only 619 or 1.9% were taken by African American students. • 70% of principals surveyed think CS is just as or more important than required core classes. Their biggest barriers to offering computer science is the lack of funds. Under resourced schools are a long-standing challenge to educational equity. We must innovate to bring parity to education for students in underserved communities
Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.
The Engineer Factory strives to demonstrate how out-of-school programs can positively impact the STEM education pipeline. Our Computer Science Equity (CSE) program is designed to equip students in underserved communities with CS experience & skills. CSE includes: 1. Piper Computer--Students (1) build a computer, (2) create electronic inputs/outputs with instructions in the Raspberry Pi Edition of Minecraft, (3) learn coding using Google Blockly and (4) apply their knowledge through design thinking. Students who complete the Piper curriculum are awarded a micro credential from UCSD. 2. AP CS Principles and AP CSA (Java) Coaching: In 2021-22, EF partnered with Cal State LA to coach 30 high school students after school & Saturdays for a total of 160 hours over 7 months to prepare the students to pass the AP CS exam using the FREE College Board approved Code.org curriculum. We had 16 take the AP exam in May 2022. We will coach 60 students in 2022-23. 3. Computer Construction: each student builds a desktop led by our partner, Homeboy Recycling. Engineer Factory solicits computer parts donations from local tech companies. The students gain hardware skills and for many get to own their first computer. 4. Cyber Security Camp: Cyber security is a fast-growing industry with high demand for workers. This summer we will introduce students to cyber security basics through a 1-week Cyber Security camp. We will field a team to compete in CyberPatriot competition in 2023.
Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.
Los Angeles County will be different because it will have a nonprofit, out-of-school solution for students in underserved communities to have access to computer science education that is not currently available to them. Moreover, the solution is not contingent upon historically under resourced schools receiving funding increases. Engineer Factory, partnering with local universities and tech companies and utilizing high quality, open- source computer science curriculum can change the education paradigm in Los Angeles County. Computer Science Equity demonstrates the benefits of public/private/university partnerships in addressing education in low-income communities and is a replicable model. Engineer Factory will document our process and this program could prove to an education disruptor for under resourced schools throughout LA County…an ultimately California and the nation.
What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?
The Engineer Factory’s desired impact is to increase interest in computer science for high school students in underserved communities and completion of AP Computer Science coursework to better prepare them to pursue CS in college. Our methods to measure impact include, but are not limited to the following: • # of students recruited, enrolled, and retained • # of students who complete the Piper Curriculum and awarded the UCSD credential • # of students who complete the Code.org AP CS courses and successfully pass the unit tests • # of students who take pass the AP CS exam • # of students who successfully complete computer construction workshop • # of students who enroll in the Cyber Security Camp • Field at least one team to compete in the International Air Force Association CyberPatriot Cyber Security competition • # of our seniors to go to college and major in Computer Science or another STEM major • Engineer Factory identify another nonprofit willing to replicate our program
Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?
Direct Impact: 70
Indirect Impact: 100
Describe the specific role of the partner organization(s) in the project, program, or initiative.
Cal State LA College of Engineering, Computer Science and Technology will provide faculty and ECST students to provide instruction, review curriculum, volunteer and link students to campus activities and tours.