I just returned from a three-day training summit put on by the AWESOME people at Code.org. Given that their mission is to bring Computer Science (CS) to every school in the country, Code.org is reaching out to educators and others who are passionate about coding with students to take their message “to the streets.” At last year’s summit, Code.org’s mission was to train 10,000 teachers in a year’s time. I’m very excited to be part of this incredible movement as a Code.org Affiliate.
What exactly is a Code.org Affiliate? It’s a person (ideally an experienced Computer Science educator) who is trained by Code.org to deliver one-day workshops to area teachers. Affiliates are asked to host at least 4 workshops throughout the year and would like around 20 teachers to attend. At these workshops, affiliates walk the teachers through the Code.org curriculum. Teachers learn about the importance of Computer Science – and specifically coding – education, the employment and wage gap in our country, the necessity of teaching skills like collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking. They also get to experience roles as both the Teacher and Learner. Workshop attendees will teach a lesson and will also experience what it’s like to be a student going through an “Unplugged” activity. In addition to that rich experience, teachers will also engage in conversation about equity – how do we bring girls, students of color and other minorities into the conversation? They will learn about strategies to engage reluctant learner and how to level the playing field so we are ensuring all students who want an opportunity to learn how to code are able to take advantage. Code.org also generously sends each workshop attendee who completes 15 online puzzles the materials to teach an Unplugged lesson with their students. Attendees also get some fun Code.org swag and a copy of their printed curriculum.
In exchange for all this awesome training and “stuff” Code.org is providing, the mission of Code.org is spreading throughout the country. As more teachers get trained, coding and computer science education begins to permeate all areas of our country. Students are no longer disengaged and bored in school, they have meaning and purpose to their work. We are able to provide a creative outlet for students to make something new or solve a problem. We are able to open the doors of opportunity to young students, so they are engaged in what they are learning and can imagine a different reality from the one they live in.
I’m so excited to bring this opportunity to my staff in the Lansing area. If you’re close by and are interested, feel free to sign up for my workshop. Even if you’re not local, you can search for a workshop being offered near you.