As we kick off Computer Science week, I am reminded about the importance of young people, especially from challenged backgrounds, learning computer science concepts. Computer coding, design thinking, and 21st century skills can dramatically influence their future trajectories.
Everyone can code, even though everyone is not a coder, it is a skill that old and young can master. You don’t have to be a coder to code - coding is a skill that the old and young can master.
The keyboard is accessible to everyone and if you can leverage those skills - you can have impact far beyond yourself. I use games, animations, and modding as a playground approach to computer science and 21st century concepts, enabling young people to learn without a formal curriculum or structure.
Project based learning is a tool that works well in after-school programs where we can introduce concepts in a fun and less high stakes environment. I often have to reassure after school program directors that they are indeed learning when they can hear them laughing, moving around, sitting on the floor (or under a table), and talking during our sessions. The approach is messy and at times noisy. Learning should be engaging, fun, constant, and occurs, more often than not, in real world application of concepts. We start with “You Can…” and go from there.
This year Nerd Ninjaz will be returning for the 4th year of Hour of Code to Barack and Michelle Obama Academy and the 2nd year at Benteen Elementary School. We’ve logged over 1,800 hours of 2nd-4th graders learning computer science concepts and 5th graders creating a game/animation during their Hour of Code. This year we will add 500 more hours to that number. If you want to help, please feel free to reach out to William Teasley (the Nerd Ninja Sensei) for more information on how to get involved.
Stay tuned. We’ll be sharing video, pics, and a blog post from an educator next week!
Nerd Ninja Sensei
A blog for those working to refine the college access pipeline, create more opportunities to nurture future change agents, and mitigate the gaps.