Coronavirus & Remote Learning

Updated: Free Computer Science Resources for Schools During the COVID-19 Outbreak

(Updated May 19) Education technology companies and organizations have stepped forward to help educators bring STEM and STEAM experiences to students in virtual ways during the COVID-19 closures. The following is a list of free resources in coding, computer science and engineering. This will be updated regularly as announcements are made. (If you know of a company that should be included on this list, please send details to [email protected].)

AI4ALL Open Learning produces a free, adaptable curriculum for high school teachers to infuse coverage of artificial intelligence into their lessons. The organization said its materials can be implemented in any subject and doesn't require a technical background to use. Students will learn what AI and machine learning are, the benefits and risks of AI and how they can be involved in forging its use in the world. https://ai-4-all.org/open-learning/

Amazon Future Engineer is providing free access to sponsored computer science courses in the United States, intended for independent learners in grades 6-12 and teachers who are remotely teaching this age group. Parents can also access the curriculum. The organization is also offering a virtual robotics program through partners CoderZ with a sequenced course that shows learners how to code; early learners use block-based coding; older learners use text-based coding. And Amazon Future Engineer is providing access to Georgia Tech's EarSketch, a free program that helps students learn to code through music. Grammy-award winning artists Ciara and Common have both provided studio-quality music "stems" that students can remix from home using code. Everything will be available for free at least until fall 2020. https://www.amazonfutureengineer.com/free-courses

Athletes for Computer Science has invited students 13 and older, their families and teachers to attend free weekly computer science training classes online through Zoom. The sessions, hosted by NFL Super Bowl Champion Ellis Wyms, take place every Tuesday at 11 a.m. Pacific time and are scheduled through the month of May. https://www.athletesforcomputerscience.org/afcslivecodingclass.html

Boolean Girl has launched live, online events to help teach students "to code, build, invent and animate." The events, which are taking place every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 3 to 4 p.m. Eastern time, introduce new engineering and coding projects to increase interest and engagement around STEM. Each is being recorded so that students can watch the session afterwards if they miss the live presentation. https://booleangirl.org/full-stem-ahead/

Carnegie Mellon has reiterated availability of "Computer Science Academy," a free, online, interactive high school CS curriculum. CS1 is the year-long flagship course, with 120 hours of instruction and a "robust introduction" to coding with Python through graphics and animations. This course is available to educators with teacher accounts. CS0 is a "lite" version, which includes about 40 hours of instruction and is intended for middle school, out-of-school programs and summer camp settings. This course is available for both mentor and teacher accounts. https://academy.cs.cmu.edu/coronavirus2020

codeSpark Academy has created a path for students to get free access codes from their K-5 teachers to the program, which teaches coding fundamentals and creativity with computer science. According to the company, kids as young as five can design and code their own video games and interactive stories. codeSpark Academy is always free for public schools but home use normally requires a subscription. The offer lasts until May 31, 2020. https://blog.codespark.com/story/free-resources-for-closed-schools

The Coding School is offering free online, one-on-one coding lessons and tech talks to children and teens who have been impacted by Covid-19. Software engineers from technology companies, including Google, Facebook, and Amazon, are volunteering their time for the nonprofit to help students learn how to code while schools are closed. Through spring and summer 2020 in grades 4-12 who have a parent who is a healthcare professional or has lost a job due to COVID-19 will be eligible to receive weekly, personalized coding lessons from a live instructor. Request a scholarship during registration or contact the nonprofit at [email protected] or call (323) 790-9992. The company is also seeking a limited number of students to participate in a free four-week online bootcamp to learn game development as well. That will run from Jun. 8 to Jul. 3, 2020.

DFRobot is offering free access to its STEM-based education resources for teachers and students. The interactive resources include lesson plans and step-by-step project tutorials covering the Internet of Things (IoT), robotics and artificial intelligence (AI), among other subjects. https://edu.dfrobot.com/

DiscoverE has collected a series of articles with activities and videos for engaging students in engineering. That includes Friday conversations with engineers. https://discovere.org/at-home-engineering

Dreams for Schools has launched a coding-at-home initiative, with free online resources for elementary students and courses for middle school and high school students with slides and video lessons. The subjects: mobile app development and website development. The materials are being updated weekly. https://www.dreamsforschools.org/codingathome/

FIRST has collaborated with Star Wars: Force for Change, to create the "Building Star Wars Droids" activity. Students are charged with designing, pseudo-coding and/or building a robot that could assist with dispersal of COVID-19 aid in their community. The activity comes with a lesson plan for adults and design brief for students. https://www.firstinspires.org/community/home-learning

Girls Who Code has begun publishing free weekly activities--some online, some offline--as virtual curricula. The nonprofit, which focuses on encouraging female students to embrace technology-laden learning, has already released an activity for creating "binary bracelets," a lesson on programming a digital story with Scratch and a tutorial on creating tutorials in HTML and CSS. https://girlswhocode.com/code-at-home/

IBM has launched Open P-TECH, to help young people and educators pick up the basics in topics including cybersecurity, artificial intelligence and cloud computing, as well as soft skills. Up until now, the P-TECH program has been provided as a model affiliated with schools. Now students who are 16 and older can register and participate on their own. https://www.ptech.org/open-p-tech/

iRobot is making virtual and offline coding projects available for elementary and middle school students for home use, some of which require no particular technology. The company is also providing teachers with free access to a subscription program that comes with the company's Root coding robot. To unlock the premium content, download the Root Coding app and enter the code, "LEARN" on the home screen.

KinderLab Robotics has developed a "No KIBO? No Problem!" booklet to help teachers and parents teach building, engineering and design and coding without technology. STEAM activities are intended for students three- to seven-years-old and come from KinderLab standards-aligned curriculum. Each activity includes guidance on learning objectives and the resources needed to complete the project. http://resources.kinderlabrobotics.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2020/03/No-KIBO-No-Problem-v3.pdf

LabsLand is providing online access to actual laboratories (not simulations) through school closures. The program is typically used to teach engineering, electronics, physics and other lab courses. The labs are located in 24 universities around the world, and students access them through a browser, to experiment and manipulate the labs remotely. To gain access, contact the company at mailto:[email protected] with "COVID-19" in the subject line or visit the covid-19 page. https://labsland.com/blog/en/2020/03/12/schools-and-universities-closure-support/

LearnToMod is offering free teacher accounts for its Minecraft "modding" software. Teacher accounts give educators the ability to spin up Minecraft servers for students to explore and to create and organize free student accounts into classes. For students without accounts, there is an in-browser Minecraft simulator. However, for the full experience, students need a copy of the game. https://www.learntomod.com/educators/

Learning.com is offering online open-source lesson plans for educators, students and parents, covering digital literacy and computational topics. The company is also providing free access to the EasyCode Foundations (CodeMonkey) curriculum and the EasyCode Pillars Python Suite (Codesters) curriculum. https://info.learning.com/virtual-learning-resources

Manticore Games has launched "Code Academy," a destination for free online classes for game creation and design. Courses include tutorials, videos and hands-on examples, as well as weekly livestreams where instructors answer questions directly. https://www.manticoregames.com/news/introducing-core-academy-and-core-game-dev-bootcamp

MetaCoders is offering daily coding lessons on YouTube. Curriculum covers computer science concepts, how to think like a programmer and how to code more efficiently. Lessons run between five and 15 minutes. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJwcNVM9uG03zUbYrUYeW0g

Minecraft (Microsoft) is making Minecraft Education Edition available free to teachers through June 2020. They need to have a valid Office 365 Education account. There's a brief educator quick-start guide that includes a set of "curriculum kits," projects that can be implemented with students working remotely. The Minecraft Education Challenge invites students to learn about sustainability and inclusion, and then to design projects using Minecraft. The company has also added a new education category within the Minecraft Marketplace, free of charge through June 30. Minecraft players can explore the International Space Station, wander through the inside of a human eye, learn what it's like to be a marine biologist and more. The world will be free to download through Jun. 30, 2020. Just look for the "free" tag. https://www.minecraft.net/en-us/marketplace

PCS Edventures is making Blocksmith 3D Coding & Design free through Jun. 15, 2020. This 3D coding and game design program helps students learn how to code while creating animated, interactive games. The company is also promoting a number of free STEM and STEAM activities, to help teachers challenge their learners; many of the activities can be done offline. The company has also made its multi-lesson drone courses available free through Jun. 1, 2020. That includes "Droneology," for middle and high school students and "Droneology Jr." for younger students. https://edventures.com/pages/blocksmith-free-trial

RoboKind, which produces "advanced social robots," has made a virtual coding course from it robots4STEM Avatar Version for elementary and middle school students available through Jun. 30, 2020. The software uses an online avatar that students program rather than programming a physical robot. https://www.robokind.com/robots4stem/home

The Robotics Education & Competition (REC) Foundation has created a free online resource to strengthen students' STEM skills by allowing them to interact with virtual robots. https://www.roboticseducation.org/online-stem-learning-resources-and-activities/

Tynker is providing free access to its Tynker School Pre-K-12 coding curriculum until May 31, 2020 to schools and individual families. That includes Tynker Junior for early learners, introductory and intermediate programming courses, and interest-based courses, such as micro:bit, LEGO WeDo and drone programming. https://www.tynker.com/blog/articles/ideas-and-tips/15-free-coding-resources-from-tynker/

UBTECH is posting a free robotics-oriented challenge each week -- no robot needed. A recent challenge asked students to design then sketch or build a robot that would help doctors, nurses and caretakers with their workload and help them stay healthy. The company is also hosting a free webinar series that take "deep dives" into artificial intelligence to help educators make the subject "relatable and practical" for their students. https://ubtecheducation.com/homelearning/

Unity Technologies is providing free access to Unity Learn Premium, a 3D development platform, through Jun. 20, 2020. Registration provides access to live sessions with Unity experts and 350-plus hours of tutorials, hands-on projects, and courses for game developers, covering topics from "Game Mechanic Design Fundamentals" to "Getting Started with Post-Processing Stack for VR." Unity is also delivering virtual classes through "Create with Code Live," free for students, instructors and anyone else interested in learning to code; those sessions kick off on Mar. 23 at 9 a.m. Pacific time or 5 p.m. Pacific time. https://unity.com/products/learn-premium

VEX Robotics has launched VEXcode Virtual Robot (VR), a free web-based tool for delivering computer science lessons for those who don't have access to a physical VEX Robot at home. There are no software installations required, and the program functions on all major devices. https://www.vexrobotics.com/vexcode-vr

Find more resources for schools during the COVID-19 crisis here. Or return to the main list of free resources.

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