EarSketch in action

Posted August 1, 2017

Georgia Tech’s EarSketch project has been selected for a 2017 National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) Engagement Excellence Award. The award recognizes contribution to the computer science education community and to efforts to broaden participation in computing through excellent pedagogy and curriculum.

EarSketch was established by Brian Magerko, digital media associate professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Literature, Media, and Communication, and Jason Freeman in the School of Music in 2011. The project sought to improve computer programming literacy for K-12 students, especially among women and minorities, by developing a curriculumthat teaches them to code through music. Students learn core computational concepts and the Python and JavaScript languages. Using a digital audio workstation, students write code to create and remix music such as hip hop and dubstep.

Since launching in 2013, the free EarSketch software has been used by more than 75,000 students in all 50 U.S. states and in more than 100 countries. The project was awarded a $3 million National Science Foundation grant in 2014 and has also received funding from the Scott Hudgens Family Foundation, the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, and the Google Inc. Fund of Tides Foundation. It was highlighted by the White House in 2016 among its Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek) national initiatives. 

The recipients for the NCWIT Award are: Brian Magerko (Ivan Allen College Graduate Program in Digital Media), Jason Freeman (School of Music), Greg Hendler (School of Music) and Lea Ikkache (School of Music).

The interdisciplinary awards committee noted that the interconnections the assignment makes to the music industry are quite engaging and the connection between the creative arts and computer science are  unique and authentic. They also commended the team for “providing a way for students to show off what they’ve done to increase student engagement and interaction.”

The Engagement Excellence award comes with a $5,000 cash award and up to $1500 for travel to attend Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE) 2018 or the NCWIT’s Summit in May 2018.

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For more information, contact

Rebecca Keane
Director of Communications