It’s not too late (yet) for your child to join the Coders’ Lab!
Our new Coders’ Lab class, called Explorations in Coding I, will teach students how to code “for real” using the Python programming language. It will also help them discover how they can make a difference in the world through computer science!
How it works
Students will meet twice weekly with one of our best teachers and other curious and highly capable kids. They will also have independent time to work through modules and develop projects on their own. Classes at this level are typically recommended for middle school students, but bright and motivated students in grades 4-6 will feel right at home. We think your child has what it takes! No prior computer science experience is necessary.
“Learning to write programs stretches your mind, and helps you think better, creates a way of thinking about things that I think is helpful in all domains.”
Help your child become 21st century-ready
This class will help your child grow in problem-solving, critical thinking skills, creativity, collaboration, and communication – all from the comfort of your home. So, what are you waiting for? Hurry, class starts November 2nd!
Are you looking for joyful and engaging online learning experiences? Do you know a bright elementary or middle school student who would like a chance to connect with other like-minded kids? Our Enrichment Expeditions program is a new way to experience the classes you have come to love from the Belin-Blank Center. Shake up your pandemic routine with bite-sized lessons that will cultivate interests, spark curiosity, and enhance learning!
Enrichment Expeditions are 1-3 hour online experiences built around topics that kids don’t often have a chance to learn about in school. Each class includes:
Live instruction from vetted teachers who can work with bright students.
Curriculum developed or approved by our gifted education experts.
A fun supplies kit with everything you’ll need to support the hands-on activities. No shopping, ordering, or hunting around your house!
Each expedition introduces students in grades 2-8 to advanced level topics and other bright kids their age. Plus, these engaging online classes are limited to 10 students, giving children room to enjoy their instructor’s unique talents and hands-on experiences with their classmates. Our current classes explore aviation, female role models, problem-solving strategies, neuroscience, survival skills, and more! Students do not have to be in a gifted and talented program to participate.
We are creating a variety of evening and weekend Enrichment Expeditions to fit any schedule. With the addition of new classes throughout the academic year, we aim to have something for everyone! If you or a child in your life has an idea for an expedition, let us know, and we’ll do our best to create the experience.
Staff members of the Belin-Blank Center are busily preparing several new online opportunities for students. At the time this newsletter was published, we weren’t quite ready to launch the registration process, but we wanted to give you a heads up! Do you have a student in elementary, middle or high school? Make sure you are on our newsletter list by signing up here, and indicate your student’s grade level. We will be sure to send you the latest news about our new online programs as soon as possible!
The fall term is flying by, and we have had teachers enrolled in a wide variety of online learning opportunities, from three-semester-hour classes to one-semester-hour workshops focusing on specific topics over three weeks. We have had 99 individuals who have enrolled for 221 semester hours of credit; seven of our students this fall are educators from India who are learning to better serve their gifted/talented students in their schools. Current registrations for conference credits (options at the Iowa Talented and Gifted [ITAG] Association conference and the National Association for Gifted Children [NAGC]) add another 17 people earning 29 semester hours of credit, most often applied to credits required for the Talented and Gifted Endorsement.
We still have two online fall credit options available. One workshop, EDTL:4096:0WKA Special Topics: Personal Learning Plans and the Gifted Students, is helpful for any Iowa educator who needs to provide plans for identified students, in compliance with Iowa Code. Educators from other states will benefit from learning more about this option, an important component in the continuum of options recommended by the NAGC.
For anyone attending the NAGC convention in Minneapolis in November, the Belin-Blank Center provides a credit option (PSQF:5194:0WKA) for a choice of either one or two semester hours of credit. As with other credit options, those who are interested must be registered as a Distance and Online Learner (belinblank.org/educators/reg), and contact email@example.com to override the restriction for the conference credit, ensuring that anyone who registers understands that conference attendance is required. The Belin-Blank Center provides a 50% tuition scholarship for the graduate tuition rate for conference credits, in an effort to support educators’ interest in learning through these opportunities.
The Center is offering one online credit over Winter break. Current Readings and Research in Gifted Education (EDTL:4085:0WKA) will allow educators to review the information they most need for their students and schools. The class begins on December 26 and ends on January 11, 2019, getting the new year off to a great start.
Spring enrollment hasn’t opened yet, but the Center will be providing a variety of online three-semester-hour classes, including content focused on identification, on classrooms and curriculum, and on programming models. As well, Administrative and Policy Issues (EPLS:4110:0EXW)is available as a two-semester-hour online class. A variety of one-semester-hour online workshops will allow educators to focus on topics such as curriculum development, mathematics for gifted learners, and issues of perfectionism. Classes for each semester are posted at belinblank.org/educators/courses.
Spring registration for Iowa Online AP Academy (IOAPA) courses open November 1stand will close December 7th, 2018, or when seats fill, whichever comes first. There are limited seats in each course, and we expect them to fill up fast. Be sure to register as soon as you can!
As a reminder, IOAPA courses are intended for cases in which the course can not currently be offered through the school district (or, in the case of middle school students, the course is not offered at the student’s grade level). Schools that offer a course on-site are not eligible to offer that course through IOAPA.
Available courses for high school students for spring 2019 include: AP Macroeconomics, AP Microeconomics, AP Psychology, and AP US Government.
Available courses for middle school students for spring 2019 include: Creative Writing, Introduction to Computer Science, Probability and Statistics, Psychology, and Honors U.S. History to the Civil War.
For guidance in making course selection decisions, check out our high school and middle school course infographics here!
If your school registered with IOAPA in the fall, there is no need to re-register the school. Just click “Enroll Your School” on our website, and you will be redirected to the student nomination step.
Students enrolled in year-long classes will be automatically enrolled in the second semester of their course, unless they inform us that they would like to drop, or receive a failing grade for the fall term. For a step-by-step registration guide, check out this post.
Middle school students interested in enrolling in IOAPA courses should take an above-level test to determine eligibility: 6th graders can take I-Excel; 7th and 8th graders can take the ACT. For eligibility guidelines, see the Requirements page. For more on above-level testing in general, see this page and this post.
Our website includes helpful information about IOAPA courses and registration. Visit the Getting Started page first, and click around to find the IOAPA handbook, information about how to talk to administrators and students about IOAPA.
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The Belin-Blank Center, in partnership with departments in the University of Iowa College of Education, offers a variety of online classes this summer. While we would love to have you join us on campus for our Chautauqua course series, we know that many of those advocating for gifted/talented students benefit from the flexible online format. Each of the online classes is offered for one semester hour of credit and are three weeks in length. You can learn how to develop creativity in every learner, facilitate research projects, enhance your understanding of differentiation at the secondary level, and more!
If you will be joining us on campus for the Advanced Placement Teacher Training Institute, we offer your choice of two hours of academic credit; the Center provides a 50% tuition scholarship for those who take advantage of the graduate credit.
Online learning is a rapidly expanding trend on college campuses—according to research conducted by the Sloan Foundation, roughly one-third of U.S. undergraduate students took an online college course for credit last year. With 70-80% of collegiate institutions reporting that online education is a central focus for long-term strategy, online learning is here to stay at colleges and universities. Because college-bound students will most likely take an online course at some point, more high schools are emphasizing the importance of being prepared for the unique challenges of online learning—some districts even require high school students to take online classes prior to graduating from high school.
High school students in Iowa have a unique opportunity to prepare for online learning through the Iowa Online AP Academy (IOAPA). Students who participate in Iowa Online AP Academy (IOAPA) courses not only benefit from exposure to more rigorous, college-level coursework, but also have the opportunity to practice independent learning, utilizing an online format, and seeking additional help when needed—all skills necessary for success in online classrooms at all levels. In addition, IOAPA students also have built-in support from site coordinators and mentors. Research conducted with college undergraduates found that although learning outcomes are generally consistent between online-only and combined learning formats, access to support was one area in which online students reported difficulty. Access to these additional resources helps IOAPA students learn how to anticipate and master challenging course material, a skill necessary for success in the college environment. When confronted with online experiences in college, Iowa Online AP Academy students have already experienced some of the benefits and challenges of participating in online learning, and may be able to use the skills developed in IOAPA as they continue their education.