Competition Promotes Learning to Code with Music Remixing
- By Dian Schaffhauser
Future Engineer is working with Georgia
Tech and Pharrell Williams' nonprofit YELLOW
in a new K-12 competition intended to push students to understand how
music, computer science and entrepreneurship can be tools used to
advance equity. The "Your
Voice is Power" program challenges participants
to remix music while learning to code. Winners receive scholarships
or grants to start new businesses.
This week, as part
Hour of Code initiative, students can participate in
online coding sessions. The competition is also making free
curriculum and professional development resources
available to teachers.
their remixes using EarSketch,
Georgia Tech's free online code editor. The remixes must pull from
a new song by Pharrell that celebrates Black culture, and can also
use beats from Alicia Keys' "Underdog"
and Khalid's "New
must be 30 seconds to three minutes long and run in EarSketch without
errors. They'll be judged based on the quality of music, code and
messaging by a panel of industry professionals.
Students can compete
with their class or on their own. The challenge runs from Dec. 1,
2021 to Jun. 19, 2022. Finalists from the first round of judging will
be announced in March; the grand prize winners will be announced in
Five students will
each win a $5,000 scholarship or grant to start a business.
Additional prizes through the two judging rounds include a $500
Amazon gift card, one awarded specifically to an elementary student
and another to a middle school student; $200 Amazon gift cards to 10
finalists; and $25 Amazon gift cards to 100 semi-finalists.
Also, five teachers
will win $1,000 cash prizes for "above-and-beyond instruction"
involving the Your Voice is Power curriculum. Teachers with 10 or
more student submissions will be eligible and contacted to apply.
The curriculum will
consist of five or six modules, each module to be used during a
single 60-minute class period. Competition organizers emphasized,
however, that teachers can move through the modules at their own
speed. Each module includes a scripted lesson plan, slide decks,
digital student materials, exemplar code examples and videos.
While the materials
are aligned to the CSTA
K-12 Computer Science Standards, organizers are
encouraging non-CS teachers to participate too. Teacher training will
be made available during January.
examples and winning entries from the 2021
competition are available on
the Your Voice is Power website.
Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.