DePaul University College of Education > About > DePaul K-12 Activities

DePaul K-12 Activities

Chicago Playworks for Families and Young Audiences
Held at the Merle Reskin Theatre downtown, Chicago Playworks for Families and Young Audiences runs a series of productions throughout the year based on popular children's books.

Chicago Quest
Chicago QUEST is the second school of its kind in the United States. It adapts an innovative education model using games and design as rule-based learning systems. Quest creates worlds in which players actively participate, use strategic thinking, solve complex problems, seek content knowledge, receive constant feedback and consider the point of view of others. Quest uses the underlying principles of games to create highly immersive, game-like learning experiences for its students in a powerful pedagogical model for grades 6-12.

GEAR​UP, or Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, was started by the U.S. Department of Education to increase the number of low-income students going to college by helping them succeed in high school and post-secondary education. DePaul University is one of the institutions that make up this partnership.

SMALLab at Play
Part of Quest To Learn, this model of learning engages students' full bodies in game-based scenarios as they interact with each other and digital game elements in real time in shared physical space. Using motion-capture cameras, short-throw projectors and wireless controllers to immerse players, SMALLab at Play supports situated learning, large-group participation, team work, complex problem solving and fun physical activity.

YOUMedia - A Digital Library for Teens
In collaboration with the Chicago Public Library, College of Computing and Digital Media (CDM) faculty member Nichole Pinkard helped found YOUmedia, an innovative, 21st century teen learning space housed at the Harold Washington Library Center. YOUmedia was created to connect young adults, books, media, mentors and institutions throughout the city of Chicago in one dynamic space designed to inspire collaboration and creativity. Although not affiliated with specific schools, YOUmedia allows high school-aged teens, most of whom attend Chicago Public Schools, to access thousands of books, over 100 laptop and desktop computers, and a variety of media creation tools and software, all of which allow them to stretch their imaginations and their digital media skills.

For more information about the program, visit the site or this article.

Game, Cinema & Animation Summer Academy
Participating in this week-long program held at DePaul University's Loop Campus will provide high school students with hands-on instruction using the latest equipment and technology. Areas of focus include digital cinema production, 3-D computer modeling and animation for games and cinema, graphic design and computer game development. Students interested in careers in the motion picture, television, graphic design or computer game industry should apply to this program for a valuable educational experience as well as an advantage in today's competitive world of college admission.

Geography Partnership
The Geography Department is in partnership with Al Raby High School in Chicago. This collaboration seeks to offer Geographic Information Systems computer mapping advice and tutoring. Geographic Information Systems allow users to view, understand, question, interpret and visualize data in many ways that reveal relationships, patterns and trends in the form of maps, globes, reports and charts.

K-8 Music Instruction with Jahn Elementary
The School of Music will provide grades K-8 general music instruction to students who would otherwise not be receiving this program due to the size of their schools. This program has taken places for several years at St. Gabriel Elementary, St. Ben's, Pritzker Elementary, DeDiego Elementary and Lincoln Elementary.

Once Upon A Symphony
Many students from the School of Music volunteer to run pre-concert programming for a preschool music series called Once Upon A Symphony, held by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra

DREAM Project (Formerly America Reads) and Catholic Schools Initiative (CSI)
DREAM Project is a tutoring and mentoring program that focuses on the improvement of literacy and academic skills for Catholic elementary school students. A work-study program of the Steans Center, America Reads hopes to prepare tutors to become socially-responsible leaders in their community. By assisting Catholic elementary school students in a number of neighborhoods across Chicago, the America Reads program aims to train leaders who are professional, socially aware and committed to community service. Tutors will be required to reflect on their experiences at service sites and will be encouraged to think systemically of the broader implications of their engagement with the community. Students can apply to become a tutor on the Student Employment website. Please contact Lourdes Sullivan, Alicia Ferraris or Benjamin Meyer for more information.

Taste of Computing (Sep 2011-2014)
In September 2011, Lucia Dettori received a three-year, $756,088 grant from the National Science Foundation to fund Taste of Computing. The project aims to introduce a new introductory computer science course in the Chicago public high schools that offer the Career and Technology Education Info Tech Program (approximately 35 schools). The goal of the project is to increase the number of high school students considering a career in computing and specifically to broaden participation of women and other underrepresented groups. The course is based on the Exploring Computer Science (ECS) curriculum developed for the Unified Los Angeles School District. The course is inquiry-based and stresses discovery learning using a range of computing topics (problem solving, human-computer interaction, Web design, robotics, data modeling and game programming) and approaches specifically designed to engage a broad range of students in computational thinking. As part of the grant, over 60 teachers in CPS will also receive extensive professional development during the summer and throughout the academic year, along with robotics kits and other tools for their classroom. In January 2012 as part of the grant, CDM held a professional development workshop on using Scratch to teach introductory computing for approximately 30 high school teachers from the CPS system. The workshop was facilitated by Gail Chapman from UCLA, one of the cofounders of ECS. The first two week-long professional development workshops will take place this summer.

Communicator for the 21st Century Hybrid Model and Digital Youth Network
CDM faculty member Nichole Pinkard is the founder of the Digital Youth Network (DYN), a hybrid digital literacy program. DYNs seven years of extensive hands-on work in middle schools has enabled them to provide targeted learning opportunities across multiple spaces in the City of Chicago that support the 24/7 learning ecologies (home, school and after school). The C21 Digital Storytelling model uses the affordances of each space to provide contextualized curriculum and learning resources designed to meet the needs of each space. C21 Digital Storytelling programming during the school day develops and supports proficiency in writing and digital media. The in-school courses provide core content that offers teachers a window into their students' writing and digital literacy ability. The in-school course also provides a lens that serve as a basis for core content integration. The use of proficiency badges and self-paced digital media project cards enable classroom teachers to focus on integrating digital media as oppose to teaching the skills. DYN also provides programming in the after-school setting that focuses on providing mentor-driven digital media pods that are medium specific (e.g. animation, digital music, graphic design, fan fiction etc.), which allow students to explore their personal interest in digital media.

Grinding New Lenses
The Grinding New Lenses project, a collaboration among the Institute of Play, Indiana University, and DePaul University (CDM faculty members Katie Salen and Nichole Pinkard), is funded by the MacArthur Foundation's Digital Media and Learning (DML) initiative. The Grinding New Lenses team has now been working for almost two years to create a set of modular curricula to be taken up in a wide variety of formal and informal settings by teens, to develop skills in digital media literacy and systems thinking. A key partner in this project is the National Writing Project (NWP), a national teacher professional development network that includes over 130,000 teachers.

Chicago Lab Schools
In 2008, this project was begun at DePaul University to modify existing general education courses to teach computational thinking concepts in context, funded under the CPATH program. Chicago Lab Schools works both with teachers trained in computer science and with teachers in the language and visual arts and humanities to develop computational thinking activities and assessments for their courses. The courses are at the middle- and high-school levels for students ages 10 through 18, and the materials were developed by the teachers responsible for the courses in consultation with the principal investigators of the DePaul University project. Using a process of iterative design, refinement and reflection that is recommended in the literature, computational thinking is integrated into six courses: middle-school and high-school computer science, and high-school Latin, graphic arts, English and history.

Polk Bros. Foundation Center for Urban Education
Based in DePaul University's School for New Learning, The Polk Bros. Foundation Center for Urban Education concentrates on the development of core competencies for lifelong learning.