Free Technology Event

The Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) Office of Computer Science is pleased to announce the 2022 Arkansas #CSTechFest. This event, taking place on Saturday, October 22nd in the University of Arkansas of Little Rock (UALR) Engineering and Information Technology building, is a free hands-on event for families designed for grades 6 - 12 students. Join us for a fun-filled day exploring various topics in Computer Science and STEM such as game development, cybersecurity, and more. There is truly something for everyone! 

This event is open to any and all participants from grades 6-12 and registered participants that attend will receive an Arkansas #CSTechFest patch/badge the day of the event.

Check in will begin at 8 a.m. with morning sessions beginning at 8:30 a.m. and ending at 11:30 a.m. Afternoon sessions will start at 12:30 p.m. and end at 3:30 p.m. If you want to come in the afternoon or morning only, please indicate that on your registration form. Check in for afternoon only participants will begin at 11:30 a.m.

Registration is limited to 200 participants and is required for admittance (no walk-ins). Registration is open until noon on Friday, October 14, 2022. The registration form is found at: 

The following 3-hour sessions will be provided in the morning and repeated in the afternoon:

Snoof Coding - Each participant will design and build a Snoof puppet using provided materials.  Once you have designed your new friend, we will use the coding platform Makecode and the physical computing device Circuit Playgrounds to make them come to life with sounds, actions, and lights. This session will be led by Tammy Glass and Leslie Savell, Statewide Computer Science Specialists. No previous experience is required.

Introduction to the Arcade: Chromebook-friendly Game Development - Join us for a session where we talk about the basic concepts of game development, twist some old card games, and code our first game in Python on MakeCode Arcade. Participants are encouraged to bring a laptop or Chromebook! This session will be led by John Hart and Mark Barnes, Statewide Computer Science Specialists. No previous coding is required. Suitable for 6-8th grades.

Physical Computing with Circuit Playgrounds and Python - This session will explore physical computing using the Circuit Playground microcontroller and Python. Physical computing occurs when you create programs that interact with the physical world, such as leveraging sensors, motors, and LEDs. Circuit Playgrounds are programmable devices that integrate input (e.g., light and accelerometer sensors) and output devices (e.g., speakers and LEDs) directly on the microcontroller. Participants will learn the basics of physical computing by creating programs that control the integrated input and output devices. This session will be led by Zack Spink and Jim Furniss, Statewide Computer Science Specialists.

CSforAR Cybersecurity - In this session, participants will learn about cybersecurity and various aspects of hacking. Topics covered will be related to digital presence, safe technology use, and ethical hacking. Participants are encouraged to bring a laptop/Chromebook This session will be led by Alex Moeller, Statewide Computer Science Specialist.

Drawing with Java -  We will work through some cool and fun activities using the Java programming language. Leveraging an online IDE called Replit, we will create graphics using conditionals, loops and methods. Participants are encouraged to bring a laptop or Chromebook. No previous coding experience is needed; everyone is welcome! This session will be led by Ashley Kincannon, Statewide Computer Science Specialist and Lori Kagebein, ASMSA Director of STEM Pathways.

Introduction to Electronics and Breadboarding W/Arduino - Participants will explore various electronic concepts and components through virtualization and physical resources. Participants will build and program circuits that accomplish a variety of tasks while covering the components and concepts that make the circuits work. Participants will model a functional working circuit virtually and then build their project using physical components. No experience is necessary for this session, only a willingness to learn and have fun. Participants are encouraged to bring a laptop or Chromebook. This session will be led by Adam Musto, Statewide Computer Science Specialist.

Unity Game Engine/IoT & the Self-driving Car: Unity Game Engine -  Students will access the real-time 3D development platform that professionals use to create immersive experiences. Using Unity Game engine (free for students), you’ll learn how to create a scene and 3D objects to insert into the scene. IoT & the self-driving car: IoT (Internet of Things) is the next big thing in technology. In 2021, there were over 10 billion connected devices! IoT devices were not built with security in mind, leading to several potential vulnerabilities. In some cases, there is no way to install security software on the device itself. Learn what IoT means, what is considered a connected device, potential security risks, and how to keep your devices safe. Then, you’ll see the effects of attacks on IoT devices by modifying the data transfer between the cloud and the device (self-driving car).

VEX Robotics - Participants will learn to program a VEX robot that is capable of maneuvering around the competition arena to complete fun challenges. Participants will utilize the engineering design process to problem solve, document, and suggest improvements to the robot and program. This session will be led by Stacy Reynolds, Statewide Computer Science Specialist.

*session options may be added or canceled due to registration numbers

If you have questions or would like to volunteer to assist at #CSTechFest, please contact