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FEATURED PANEL: Why is Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion A Critical Component to K12 Computer Science and Coding

Block D – October 28, 4:30 PM

FEATURED PANEL: Why is Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion A Critical Component to K12 Computer Science and Coding

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) are driving many conversations in many realms, but they are not as frequently discussed in relation to computer science, coding, technology and innovation. DEI does affect our technologies, and those technologies can have a significant impact on how the world works, and not always in a good way. Our panelists represent three important facets to education technology, classroom teachers, district administration, and the silicon valley. Join David Lockett (NASA), Christy Crawford (NYC DOE), and Vikas Gupta (Wonder Workshop) for a facilitated discussion with Jeff Mao (Vita-Learn) as we explore how DEI impacts our everyday lives, and why it is important to consider DEI as we expand our efforts to teach students to code and become the inventors of tomorrow, and what we can do to ensure that we build a foundation for a better future.

Speaker Bios:

Featured Speaker: Christy Crawford

Christy Crawford serves as the Director of Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education for New York City’s Computer Science for All Initiative. For more than a decade she taught K-8 classes in Harlem and the Bronx. She was also a curriculum fellow for the New York City Computer Science for All Blueprint and an adjunct lecturer for the City College of New York. She was an education consultant for companies such as Scholastic, BrainPOP, and Nickelodeon. Prior to teaching, Crawford was a television producer for several networks. She uses her experience in education and media to foster equity by all means necessary. Crawford is an advocate for communities of color in computer science. Follow her on Twitter @CCrawfordTech

Vikas Gupta

Vikas Gupta is the co-founder and CEO of Wonder Workshop, makers of the multi-award-winning robots Dash, Cue, and Dot Creativity Kit. Vikas is a father of two, and it was the time he spent with his daughter when she was born that inspired him to start Wonder Workshop. Vikas takes pride in Wonder Workshop’s mission to tackle the gender gap in STEM and make coding with robots easily accessible and fun for both boys and girls. In 2018, KAPi recognized Vikas as the Emerging Pioneer at the CES.

Wonder Workshop’s mission is to inspire inventors of all ages by giving them the tools to imagine and invent the future, and make coding the universal language of learning any subject. The company is committed to helping children succeed in the 21st century and developing in-depth experiences that balance fun and learning, promote collaboration, and provide enduring value to both girls and boys — at home and in the classroom. Wonder Workshop’s award-winning products are used by millions at home and in more than 20,000 schools worldwide. Follow him on Twitter @vikasgupta

David Lockett

David Lockett is a Computer Science and STEM teacher. He is currently an Albert Einstein Fellow at the NASA Office of STEM Engagement.  David was also honored in 2020 when he was awarded the ISTEM STEM PLN Award. 

NASA STEM Engagement offers STEM opportunities for K-12 students through experiential learning opportunities and STEM challenges. These activities are designed to increase students’ interest and involvement in STEM, improve their ability to participate in STEM studies and careers, and enhance their understanding of the value of STEM in their lives while engaging them in NASA’s mission. 

David’s most recent publication: Teaching During the Coronavirus Outbreak Follow him on Twitter @DavidJLockett

Moderator: Jeff Mao brings over 25 years of experience in the education sector. He joined Vita-Learn in the summer of 2020. He is an education technology leader who has provided strategic consulting services to schools and ed tech companies, keynote speaking at regional, national and international events, and professional learning workshops with a focus on education technology, 1:1 learning, and education policy.

Jeff served as the Learning Technology Policy Director for the Maine Department of Education (2004-2014). In that role, he provided leadership and education technology policy support to four Commissioners of Education. He was directly responsible for the Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI). He oversaw all aspects of the program including vision, implementation, policy, professional development, procurement and contract management.

He has been recognized by EdScoop (EdTech Hero, 2017), SETDA (Leader of the Year, 2013), and Common Sense Media (Educator of the Year, 2012).


Christy Crawford, Vikas Gupta, David Lockett, & Jeff Mao (Moderator)
Featured Panel: Crawford, Gupta, Lockett
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