VEX Monthly Newsletter – November 2021

Brookings Institute Report on Expanding CS Ed

Expanding Computer Science education has been a goal for schools around the world for some time now. The new report from the nonprofit public policy organization Brookings Institute offers a wealth of guidance on both lessons learned and guidance for the future.  

One of the most interesting parts of the report is the discussion of the “why” behind Computer Science education. Many still believe that Computer Science education is just for those students that want to enter a Computer Science occupation. The data, however, shows otherwise:

A functional knowledge of how computers work—beyond the simple use of applications—should benefit all students as they mature into adults given the increasing integration of technology into many aspects of daily life in the 21st century.

The report goes on to say in the conclusion:

While we do not argue that all students need to become computer scientists, foundational CS skills are required for all students to reach their full potential in the economy and society. We consider CS skills a “new basic skill,” as important as foundational literacy and numeracy to thrive in the 21st century.

The report next goes on to discuss the current state of Computer Science education worldwide, identify challenges to wider adoption of Computer Science, and then provides six recommendations for schools and policy makers to scale Computer Science education. Recommendation number six is:

When taught in an interactive, hands-on way, CS education builds skills for life

Or, put another way, Drive Forward is the new Hello World. 

Source: Building Skills For Life, How to expand and improve computer science education around the world

VEX PD+ adds more Computer Science

Many great additions were made to VEX Professional Development Plus during the month of October. October saw the addition of VEXcode VR to the PD+ Library! Videos have been added to the STEM Library on Using VEXcode VR Activities, Classroom Competitions, Teaching the CS Level1 Blocks Course, and also how you can use the Hour of Code activity, Coral Reef Cleanup, all year long.

If you’re just getting started with Computer Science, there is a great series of videos that uses VEX 123 to teach foundational Computer Science concepts. VEX 123 makes Computer Science fun and easy to learn for even the most novice educator. These videos include:

  • Computer Science Fundamentals with VEX 123
  • Getting Started with Computer Science: Moving your Robot
  • Getting Started with Computer Science: Repeating Behaviors
  • Getting Started with Computer Science: Drive Until an Object
  • And more!

Also, inspired by conversations in the PD+ Community, some of this month’s featured additions delve deeper into the newest IQ (2nd generation) curricular materials, and much more. Additionally, new articles in STEM Trends expand on PD Library videos.

Learn more >

Looking to get started with PD+? Check our these new articles in the STEM Library.

Coming soon to PD+: Live, online PD led by the VEX Experts.

Contact [email protected] for more information.

Barbados implements VEX for every student

The country of Barbados is introducing a brand new class for its students: Coding and Robotics. This class will utilize the VEX continuum. VEX 123, VEX GO, and VEX IQ and will be implemented across all levels of the Barbados education system: nursery, primary, secondary, and tertiary. The Minister of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, Santia Bradshaw, has said students would greatly benefit from this program, in that robotics and coding help to improve their vision of science, mathematics and engineering, problem-solving skills, and promote innovation, among other things. The government of Barbados has worked with Erdiston Teachers’ Training College to train teachers for the Coding and Robotics course. This has resulted in hundreds of educators in Barbados using VEX’s educator certification programs at and becoming VEX certified educators.

More information: Robotics & Coding Schools’ Programme By September from the Barbados Government

Learn more about becoming a VEX Certified Educator

More about the The VEX Continuum

The VEX K-16 Continuum brings STEM principles to life with engaging hands-on and minds-on experiences that engage all students. VEX Robots are used as an instructional organizer that allows both novice and advanced learners to apply their knowledge and skills, collaborate with their peers, and understand the world around them. Each point in the VEX Continuum is scaffolded to ensure both differentiation and seamless student progression. The VEX Continuum provides appropriate support based on individual students’ needs so that all students have the opportunity to achieve similar levels of success. STEM classes that span multiple grade levels fosters a STEM culture that supports diverse learners and promotes retention. Administrators, educators and students all benefit from consistent hardware, content, tools, and support across the entire continuum. The VEX Continuum provides students with an interdisciplinary approach to learning while creating a means for students to understand the connection between STEM content and its application in authentic and relevant ways.

Jumpstart your robotics team this year with VR Skills

Get started with this year’s VEX IQ challenge and VEX Robotics Competition with Virtual Skills. Virtual Skills is free with your team’s registration. Start coding Fling or Moby today.

Did you know that there are also standards-aligned lessons so you can teach Virtual Skills in your classroom? Check out the Virtual Skills STEM Labs and our wealth of teacher resources.

VIQC Virtual Skills >

VRC Virtual Skills >

VEX in the Classroom

Here are just a few of the examples of how VEX was used in classrooms during the month of October.  

The 2nd generation of VEX IQ is here!

STEM education has evolved since the introduction of VEX IQ in 2013, and the robot construction system needed to evolve as well. We are very happy to now offer VEX IQ (2nd generation).

Learn more >

New VEX IQ 2nd generation STEM Labs and Activities were added during the month of October. Did you also know that you can complete the VEX IQ 1st generation STEM Labs with a VEX IQ 2nd gen kit? Check out this article in the STEM Library to see how.

Did you see VEX EXP for Classrooms?

Check out VEX EXP, the all-in-one STEM solution for grades 9+. You can pre-order today.

Learn more >

Shipping in December 2021

Want to Learn More?

Contact VEX today about how to bring STEM and Computer Science to your entire district: [email protected]