The goal of the C-STEM Center is to improve computing, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (C-STEM) education in both formal and informal programs in K-14. The C-STEM Center has been actively engaged in developing computing and robotics technology and curricula as well as in professional development and implementation in K-12 schools guided by two key objectives:
- Close the achievement gap by broadening participation of students traditionally underrepresented in computing and STEM related careers and post-secondary study.
- Develop students. 21st century problem-solving skills to tackle real world concerns through integrated computing and STEM education.
The Center focuses on broadening participation of female and underrepresented minorities in computing and developing students' computer-aided problem-solving skills by introducing a user-friendly C/C++ interpreter called Ch with an integrated development environment and modular robot Mobot. Knowledge of computer programming in C/C++ is one of the most fundamental skills for today's students as described in "Ten Reasons to Teach and Learn Computer Programming in C". Ch was especially designed for beginners to learn computer programming in C/C++, as well as scientific visualization and mathematical computing. Our effort will target STEM teachers who might have little or no prior programming background, and their students, through a set of simple, concise, and self-contained computing and programming modules and activities. The C-STEM Center will also study how to streamline the curriculum on computing education in the context of STEM subjects in elementary, middle, and high schools, and first two years in colleges to increase student interest in pursuing STEM related careers and postsecondary study.