Statewide Computer Science Program Competes in National Video Competition

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BATON ROUGE – The ambitious program that is improving and expanding opportunities in computational thinking and computer science courses throughout Louisiana public schools will be featured in a national video competition from May 11-18. The program called Baton Rouge: Bringing Youth Technology, Education and Success, or BRBytes, is one of the 287 programs featured in the 2021 STEM for All Video Showcase.

The local video titled “BRBytes: Expanding K-16 Computer Science in Louisiana,” shows how the program has developed computing courses, trained new computer science teachers and implemented courses in 30 schools across the state of Louisiana for 7th to 12th grade students better preparing them for college and careers in computing. The project is funded by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education and is a partnership between East Baton Rouge Parish School System and LSU.

“Our eventual goal is that any student in the EBR region can take a computer science course and does take a computer science course,” said Fernando Alegre, co-principal investigator for the BRBytes program and associate director of LSU’s Gordon A. Cain Center.

The program leaders had to adjust the professional development portion and offer virtual courses for Louisiana public school teachers due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the program’s trajectory has not been deterred.

“This year, we have slightly over 2,000 students taking computing courses,” said LSU Department of Physics & Astronomy Associate Professor Juana Moreno, who is the principal investigator for the BRBytes program.

Moreno is featured in the BRBytes 3-minute video, which can be viewed at https://stemforall2021.videohall.com/presentations/2215 and voted on for the Public Choice Award. The BRBytes video is presented by East Baton Rouge Parish Public School System’s Benjamin Necaise and Suzanne Navo, who are co-principal investigators on the project as well as LSU’s Rose Kendrick, graduate student Jessica Moon, Moreno and Alegre.

Last year’s STEM for All Video Showcase is still being accessed, and to date has had over 86,000 unique visitors from 180 countries. The STEM for All Video Showcase is hosted by TERC and funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.