The inaugural semester at Innovation Academy has been a busy one for the Information Technology students and teachers.  We have two classes offered in our Information Technology department this year, the GT Block course and AP Computer Science Principles. 

The GT Block course is a new course that was designed by Georgia Tech specifically for Innovation Academy.  It combines the introductory courses from our three Career Tech departments, Information Technology, HealthCare and Engineering.  We have almost 600 students taking this unique course.  The block course meets for two class periods a day and the students have three teachers, one from each pathway.  This course is designed to not only give the students the foundational skills in each pathway but show students how the three pathways overlap and work together.  For example, our first unit focused on Infectious Disease.  The students researched specific diseases, learned infection protocols, and identified the components of the chain of infection in their healthcare class.  In Engineering, they learned fundamental lab skills and designed and build items that could help break the chain of infection for mosquito transmitted diseases. In Intro to Digital Technology, students learned the basics of HTML and CSS so that they could collaboratively build a website to educate the public about a disease and showcase their projects from the other two classes.  In Unit 2, our digital technology students are learning JavaScript which adds functionality and interactivity to web-based applications.  The students are using AppLab, an online JavaScript coding environment that allows students to code interactive apps.  The students have built a pizza ordering app and are now coding a quiz app.  They have also worked with engineering to learn about circuits and have coded an Arduino that will help control functionality on a greenhouse. 

The second course that we offer this year is AP Computer Science Principles.  This college level course gives the students a broad introduction to computer science and an opportunity to earn college credit.  We have eight sections of this course at Innovation Academy.  The students have studied the impact of the internet and explored how the internet works.  Ask an APCSP student to explain how data moves from one computer to another and they will give you a lot of details!  Our APCSP students have also learned the fundamentals of the Python coding language (variables, input/output, conditional selection, loops, lists and functions.  They have just finished a practice college board program that integrates all their basic coding skills, and they were encouraged to develop a cross-curricular program.  Many of our students wrote a chemical bonding program to illustrate their knowledge of chemistry topics for their chemistry class.  Others created scientific calculators or adventure games based in a specific historical time period.  We even had a speech generator program for AP Seminar and a program to generate an MLA formatted citation.  IA students are creative and diligent problem solvers! 

Believe it or not, it is almost time to plan for next year.  We will be offering five additional IT courses in 2022-23:  AP Computer Science A (Java), Game Design and Animation, Networking Fundamentals, Intro to Cybersecurity and Embedded Computing.  Be on the lookout for more information! 

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