Teaching code

Things have come full circle, as they tend to. A year ago I was enrolled in Grace Hopper, and now I am teaching a coding summer camp for high school girls. I am one week into the two week program, and so far it has been an amazing experience. The girls all come from different schools and different backgrounds, and all started the program as complete strangers to coding and computers in general – on the first day more than half of them identified as ‘not a computer person’. Already, after only 5 days of work, they have created 3 projects that they feel extremely proud of, and have developed a basic understanding of HTML, CSS, JQuery, JavaScript, the command line, and git. I am very excited to see what the next weeks bring.
I have been using Codecademy as a teaching tool and it has been extremely effective. It allows students to move at their own pace through a curriculum and try things with straightforward examples. It makes a very good complement to the “real-life” coding projects that they work on in pairs, allowing them to apply the knowledge they have gained to a project that they have to see from start to finish.

The girls are excited to next week begin working on a longer project of their own choosing. The organization that runs the summer camp feels strongly that code can be used as a tool for social change, so I am encouraging the girls to choose a project based on an issue that they care about. I am excited to see what they come up with.