Focus Area

Computer Science & STEM

Resources, professional learning, and support for fostering robust computer science and STEM programs and knowledgeable educators.

Coding the Future: CS & STEM in K-12

Computer science and STEM education are vital for K-12 students in our tech-driven world. These fields foster critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity while providing essential skills for future careers. They go beyond coding and math, offering a foundation in complex systems, data analysis, and logical reasoning – skills valuable across all disciplines.

Early exposure to CS and STEM helps bridge the digital divide, giving all students access to technological literacy regardless of background. This not only equips them to navigate our digital landscape but also opens doors to a wide range of high-demand career paths. By introducing these concepts early, we’re preparing students to shape the future they’ll inherit.

At the Learning Technology Center (LTC), we’re committed to supporting educators in bringing CS and STEM to their classrooms. We leverage our statewide network of CS educators to make integrating these subjects both empowering and standards-compliant for all educators and school districts. Our team provides resources, training, and practical support to help teachers feel confident in incorporating CS and STEM into their curriculum. Whether you’re looking to start a coding club, integrate computational thinking into existing lessons, or explore advanced topics in computer science, the LTC is here to guide you every step of the way.

Services
Resources
Events
Articles
Professional Learning

Code.org District Program

Year-Long
Variable

Professional learning programs for current and future computer science educators through the LTC’s Code.org Partnership.

Professional Learning

Code.org Workshops & Cohorts

Year-Long
Variable

Professional learning programs for current and future computer science educators through the LTC’s Code.org Partnership.

Database

Computer Science Resource Database

Vetted computer science resources geared toward a variety of grade levels, content areas, and use cases.

Professional Learning

CS PD Week

Summer
Varies

The LTC’s CS PD Week is a 5-day PD opportunity for new and experience computer science educators and administrators.

Professional Learning

Custom PD for Districts and Schools

Customizable

Customized edtech professional learning to meet the needs of districts and schools.

Database

Esport Directory

A database of K12 esport teams in Illinois.

Professional Learning

IETC Conference

November
$175+

The Illinois Education and Technology Conference, held annually in Springfield, brings together educators and tech experts to explore innovative teaching methods and leverage technology for enhanced learning statewide.

Service

ILTPP Purchasing Cooperative

Free

Save money and time through ILTPP cooperative purchasing contracts.

Database

Legal Reference Guide & Database

An introduction to the statutes, regulations, and rules that may apply to the use of technology in a school district.

Professional Learning

Regional Workshops and Events

Variable

Over 650 regional events and conferences on educational technology topics.

Professional Learning

Webinars

Free

Register for our regular webinar series and view recordings.

Curriculum & Lesson Plans

CMU CS Academy

CMU CS Academy is an online, graphics-based computer science curriculum taught in Python provided by Carnegie Mellon University for FREE.

Resource Collections

Amazon Future Engineer

Amazon Future Engineer is a comprehensive childhood-to-career program aimed at increasing access to computer science education for students from underserved and underrepresented communities.

Curriculum & Lesson Plans

Scratch Encore

Scratch-based CS instructional materials for upper elementary students through a process that attends to practical barriers to equity.

Resource Collections

Pencil Code

Learn professional programming languages using an editor that lets you work in either blocks or text. Create art, music, games, and stories. Or invent a program that will change the world.

Resource Collections

AIEdu

aiEDU is a non-profit that creates equitable learning experiences that build foundational AI literacy. Whether you have nine weeks or just five minutes, we have an engaging, free curriculum that’s easy to use.

Resource Collections

AI4K12

The initiative is developing (1) national guidelines for AI education for K-12, (2) an online, curated resource Directory to facilitate AI instruction, and (3) a community of practitioners, researchers, resource and tool developers focused on the AI for K-12 audience. Check out the following information to learn about this initiative.

Resource Collections

Cyber.org

Free K–12 cybersecurity lessons and resources

Resource Collections

Haiku

Haiku is a role play- game that teachers students skills needed for cybersecurity. Our platform has pre-designed “missions” that teach things like Linux, Intro. to Cybersecurity and Intro. to Networking. Our platform tool, Forge, allows you to build drag and drop learning pathways. Our platform takes your pathway and creates and entire story, roles and mission around your objectives. We also provide mission development as a service to customers.

Resource Collections

Common Sense Media

Free K–12 Digital Citizenship Curriculum and other resources to support digital literacy and cybersecurity

Curriculum & Lesson Plans

MakeCode Arcade

Web-based block or JavaScript coding platform to design retro-style games

Curriculum & Lesson Plans

MakeCode for Circuit Playground Express

Web-based block or JavaScript coding platform for Circuit Playground microprocessor

Curriculum & Lesson Plans

MakeCode for micro:bit

Web-based block or JavaScript coding platform for micro:bit microprocessor

Checklist

Esports Program Checklist

Empower Your New Esports Team at your School with Our Comprehensive Checklist! Unveil the potential of your budding esports squad using this all-inclusive checklist. From recruitment and practice schedules to team branding, our checklist ensures you cover all the bases for a successful and thrilling esports journey in your school.

Resource Collections

STEM Grants & Scholarships

Compiled by the LTC staff, this resource includes a collection of state and national grants and scholarships specifically geared toward support K-12 STEM programs.

Best Practices Guidance

The Basics of 3D Printing (Infographic)

What does it take to bring 3D printing to your classroom? This infographic will show you where to start, beginning with 3D printing process basics, workspace strategies, and example curriculum integration activities.

Resource Collections

3D Printing Resources

Technology Integration is fundamental for an effective digital learning experience, here’s an Infographic with 8 digital skills every teacher needs to know along side with the best programs to support them!

Guidance

Illinois Computer Literacy Guidelines Planning Document

This document is an adaptation of ISBE’s Computer Literacy guidelines, with added columns for resources and notes. It includes breakouts by grade band (K-1, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12).

Standards

IL CS Mastery Worksheet

This document is similar to the Alignment Worksheet, but can be used at the classroom level to align the standards to individual lessons or units of instruction. It includes a customizable 3-level scale to show a progression of standard mastery across the unit or course.

Take Creativity to New Heights with Drones

Jul 17, 2024
460

Discover what it takes to bring drones into the classroom as a part of this hands-on workshop. We’ll take to the skies as you learn to fly a drone manually. You’ll then explore activities, curriculum, and tips for getting your students started on their first drone adventures.

Ben Sondgeroth
Ben Sondgeroth
Lead Regional Educational Technology Coordinator | Northern Illinois, Learning Technology Center

Integrating Computer Science Across the Curriculum with LEGO®

Aug 1, 2024
Free

Join us for an interactive session on integrating computer science across the curriculum! This hands-on workshop will explain how you can boost learners’ engagement with core subjects, like ELA and Math, while incorporating computer science using the LEGO® Learning System. See why schools across Illinois lean on our ready-to-use lessons and familiar LEGO® brick to bring learning to life and address key topics within the Illinois Learning Standards.

Dr. Colleen Cannon-Ruffo
Dr. Colleen Cannon-Ruffo
Solution Architect , LEGO Education

Snap into STEM with Tactile Circuits & Snap Circuits

Aug 5, 2024
20

Come learn how at the Champaign Community Fab Lab, where we’ll explore building tactile circuitry using Snap Circuits. These colorful, user-friendly kits allow students to explore electricity, circuitry, and wiring without the hassle of soldering or jumper cables.

Emilie Butt
Emilie Butt
Informatics Instruction and Engagement Coordinator, University of Illinois

Stitching in Creativity with Digital Embroidery & SewArt

Aug 5, 2024
20

Digital embroidery and SewArt can brighten up your STEM curriculum, one stitch at a time. Come discover how to get started with both at the Champaign Community Fab Lab, where we’ll dig into the advantages of using different digital embroidery software to spark creative, maker-centered projects.

Emilie Butt
Emilie Butt
Informatics Instruction and Engagement Coordinator, University of Illinois

Integrating CS in the K-8 Classroom

Aug 7, 2024
Free

Join us for an engaging workshop on integrating computer science in K-8 classrooms. Explore foundational CS concepts and learn practical ways to incorporate them across subjects. During this session we will explore Code.org CS Fundamentals and CS Connections as well as some other resources that support foundational CS concepts.

Sarah Phelps
Sarah Phelps
Program Manager, Computer Science and STEM, Learning Technology Center

Coding Across the Curriculum with LEGO®: Elementary and Early Learning

Sep 26, 2024
Free

Join us for an interactive session focused on LEGO Education Learning System, including how it can bring computer science learning to life in your classroom.

Dr. Colleen Cannon-Ruffo
Dr. Colleen Cannon-Ruffo
Solution Architect , LEGO Education

Coding Across the Curriculum with LEGO® for Middle School and Beyond

Sep 26, 2024
Free

Join us for an interactive session focused on LEGO Education Learning System, including how it can bring computer science learning to life in your classroom. Through this system, students learn to work collaboratively and solve problems creatively – all while “playing” with a familiar set of tools that are easy to manage. Each session will also discuss connections to careers so you will have an innovative way to address career readiness within your districts.

Dr. Colleen Cannon-Ruffo
Dr. Colleen Cannon-Ruffo
Solution Architect , LEGO Education

Illinois Education and Technology Conference 2024 (IETC)

Nov 13, 2024
325

Learn, collaborate, and connect with fellow edtech enthusiasts and leaders during a multi-day professional learning experience ideal for collaborating one-on-one with peers and forging meaningful connections.

Tim McIlvain
Tim McIlvain
Executive Director, Learning Technology Center
3D printing STEM

LTC Announces Inaugural Illinois State Fair Butter Cow 3D Printing Contest Winner

The Learning Technology Center is proud to announce the winner of its first 3D printing contest. Learn about the winning student and how you can grab the miniature butter cow he designed as a souvenir at the 2024 Illinois State Fair.

STEM

9 Teaching Resources for Illuminating the 2024 Eclipse

The upcoming eclipse will be an unforgettable experience. Transform it into a learning opportunity and spark a lasting STEM passion with these resource curated by the LTC team.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI & Digital Citizenship with Mike Ribble

This month, we’re welcoming Dr. Mike Ribble to discuss the role of digital citizenship and digital literacy as we all come to grips with artificial intelligence, both in society and in the classroom.

Computer Science Professional Learning

Code.org Regional Partnership

Through our Code.org partnership, Illinois educators can obtain high-quality CS professional development and curricular resources – often for little-to-no cost. You can also develop the expertise needed make CS learning accessible at any grade level using their ever-growing library of projects and teaching tools.

More than two million teachers have brought CS learning to their classroom through Code.org. Learn more about how Code.org can help you and your district grow CS teaching capacity starting today.