It’s Monday. The frenzy of “everyone will code” is technically over and most people are back to business as usual. Last week was incredible as I was fortunate enough to participate in the first ever White House Computer Science Tech Jam where educators were paired with technology developers to ideate ways and/or products to help teachers teach Computer Science. At the same time, my district was going full throttle in making sure that every student had an opportunity to code for one hour.
I have to admit that it was quite amazing to watch from afar while our students and teachers tried multiple programs and even found new friends in Dash & Dot, the “made for blockly” coding robots. The week even ended on a massive high note where the passage of ESSA established a definition of “well-rounded” which includes courses, activities, and programs across many subjects, including computer science.
Today, I went back to my office and amidst a hectic day of “this is what you get for being in DC for a week”, I found myself reflecting on the opportunities that we gave our kids and excitement felt across the community because we fully committed to a week of coding…a week that was felt in its entirety in this district for the first time…ever!
…a week where kids who had never heard of “coding” were all of a sudden saying that they wanted to learn more.
…a week where a 65 year old community member, after seeing #LufkinCodes on the news, called to ask if she could learn too.
It felt good and it still does.
Yet, today…post-reflection, I found myself back at a familiar spot…”business as usual”.
I happened to see a stream of Periscopes by Black Girls Code, touting an event featuring Black women engineers, startup founders, creators , programmers, designers and activist.
— BlackGirlsCode.Com (@BlackGirlsCode) December 14, 2015
I watched every second of Periscope in its entirety and I felt moved, motivated…determined. I had never seen a panel like this before!!!
I was reminded by Black Girls Code, founder, Kimberly Bryant, that it’s not about coding but about empowering kids to understand that their ideas are valid and that they too can build something that not only represents their passions and dreams but can solve problems of their communities and world…in an environment created to support them.
So, I did what any person would do…
I started to look at what our district was already offering in Computer Science. I made a note to check statistics of students signing up for those courses. We’ll definitely be able to see positive impact here.
I checked my calendar to see when we could offer open “coding” workshops at schools for kids without access to those courses and not just code.org but courses on web development, app development and yes…gaming.
We have work to do, like many districts, in evaluating and improving CS course offerings but we also have a choice.
We can wait on votes and cycles of change or we can use the power that we have to spread change, awareness and opportunities…NOW.
I choose now.