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Equitable Playgrounds for All!

Pennsylvania Convention Center, Terrace Ballroom Lobby, Table 22

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Education Manager & EdTech Coach
EDGEucating LLC
Alicia Verweij is a seasoned educator, passionate about teaching children to think critically and problem-solve in preparation for future careers. She is committed to collaborative, engaging learning techniques and assisting educators in implementing them. In addition to decades of classroom experience, she holds a Master of Education in Educational Leadership, a B.S. in Business Management, an Education Certification, and an endorsement in Gifted Education. She has received numerous grants and awards for her success in the classroom and continues to share her passion for integrating STEAM and Project-based learning at local, state, regional, national, and international levels.
Computer Science - Curriculum Specialist
Marquette University
@Heidi Ann Williams
Heidi Williams is a passionate coding and computational thinking advocate. She has over 30 years of experience in K-12 public education as both a teacher and administrator. She currently serves as a computer science curriculum specialist for Marquette University's PUMP CS grant in Milwaukee, WI. Williams has shared her passion for integrating coding and computational thinking into the curriculum at local, state, regional and national conferences, and many have leveraged her expertise for conference presentations, coding coaching, professional development and K-12 scope and sequence alignment of computer science skills throughout the curriculum (

Session description

Playground equipment is not designed for the entire population and is not accessible by some sectors. Find out how you can explore and create playground equipment that's accessible to all children using computational thinking (CT) and each of its stages. Walk away with a deeper working knowledge of CT in the classroom.

Purpose & objective

In this session, we explore & create playground equipment that is accessible to all children. Participants will explore computational thinking (CT) and truly investigate each of its stages: Decomposition, Pattern Recognition, Abstraction, and Algorithms. CT will be explored using cardboard character creation and building models of the designed equitable equipment using Humming Bird robotics kits, 3DuxDesign building materials, & Strawbees with Micro Bits. Attendees will gain a true working knowledge of CT in the classroom. Similar lessons have been taught with success in my classroom.

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The poster session is a come-and-go situation so we will set it with a board that illustrates various completed project examples along with a detailed layout of each of the computational thinking (CT) stages: Decomposition, Pattern Recognition, Abstraction, and Algorithms and how they are accomplished within the lesson. We will allow attendees to conduct device-based activities if they chose in order to get more familiar with the technology that we use in the lesson.
Look at board: 5 - 10 min
Hands-on: 15 min
Questions: 5 min

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Supporting research

According to The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2019 report, only about 21% of students taking the ACT met the minimum STEM benchmarks for college entrance. (

ISTE’s No Fear Coding: Computational Thinking Across the K-5 Curriculum book supports infusing CT in the classroom. The author of this book was the co-creator of this session proposal.

Applying a real-world context to your lessons helps students realize that the skills they’re learning are not just relevant but vital beyond the classroom. Trevor Muir presents evidence of this approach in his TEDx talk on real-world learning. (

Computational thinking is a fundamental skill for everyone, not just for computer scientists. From reading, writing, and arithmetic, we should add computational thinking to every child’s analytical ability. (

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Session specifications

Computer science & computational thinking
Grade level:
Skill level:
Library media specialists, Principals/head teachers, Teachers
Attendee devices:
Devices not needed
Participant accounts, software and other materials:
Everything will be provided that is necessary for attendees.
Subject area:
Computer science, STEM/STEAM
ISTE Standards:
For Educators:
  • Use technology to create, adapt and personalize learning experiences that foster independent learning and accommodate learner differences and needs.
  • Foster a culture where students take ownership of their learning goals and outcomes in both independent and group settings.
  • Create learning opportunities that challenge students to use a design process and computational thinking to innovate and solve problems.
Related exhibitors:
BirdBrain Technologies,