Osage embraces computer science and technology

Share this article paywall-free.

Education is increasingly becoming technology driven. The Osage Community School District is ahead of the curve in its focus on this other form of literacy.

From left to right, Marley Hannon, Ava Ketelsen and Hayden Huisman use technology at Lincoln Elementary School.

Computer science is one aspect of Osage’s efforts. Recently, its determination was honored, when Lincoln Elementary School received a CS100 School award for its commitment to providing exceptional computer science education to its students.

Lincoln was one of only two schools in Iowa to receive the national recognition.

To be eligible for the CS100 School award, Lincoln had to meet minimum requirements of teaching 10 hours a year of computer science. According to Osage media specialist and technology instructional coach Kelley Molitor, the school at every grade level spends over two hours a week coding – writing computer programs.

“We qualified very easily for it,” Molitor said, adding she was very confident in Osage’s application. “We do a lot of coding throughout the day. It’s not a standalone here. It’s infused throughout the grade levels. Coding happens during literacy, math, science and social studies.”

People are also reading…

As John Pearce, executive director of the awarding body CSisElementary believes, computer science is a literacy.

Molitor is more emphatic, stating that what is taught in Osage affects all of Mitchell County, as students eventually join the workforce and bring their skills to bear. Even agriculture is now driven by computer science. Computer science helps feed the world. The medical field is immersed in it, and what the students learn today could save lives tomorrow.

Anyone who uses a cell phone is part of the movement.

One of the instructors conveying this knowledge and these skills is Lincoln Elementary School teacher Lori Randall. It is no longer science fiction when robots assist the students in their classrooms.

“Each grade level has a different device that they master,” Randall said. “It’s sequential from kindergarten through grade four in our building.”

By the time these students reach middle school, they are experts. Randall believes Lincoln’s CS100 School award was well deserved. She sees her students coding and guiding robots through obstacle courses every day.

“We were really proud to have won that, because everyone is part of this journey,” Randall said. “It’s not just certain teachers. All of us are working together. We go above and beyond in this area. You’re starting young with the problem solving, the computational thinking, the creativity, the communication and the collaboration. And then we keep building on it every year.”

“These kids have had computers and technology in their hands since they were born,” Molitor said.


Another aspect of Osage’s emphasis on technology was the STEAM Festival held last month. Exhibits filled the gyms and classrooms of the middle school and high school. STEAM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.

Most of the elementary teachers were involved in the event. For an

Read More... Read More