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Hacking is for Kids

Hacking is for Kids

A guided discussion at Hackcon V on how we can effectively share our passion of coding for students specifically in a K-12 setting.

A markdown version of this discussion can be found at http://i.victor.moe/hacking-4-kids

Inky Collective

August 05, 2017

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  1. “...and when we mean everyone, kids (K-12) should be included

    as part of the conversation. Career paths can often start at a young age when kids are exposed to programs that teach them how to code.”
  2. A: • TEALS connects tech students with high school teachers

    in order to assist getting the skills necessary to teachers in order ◦ The teachers that are in schools do not have the skills that are needed to teach a coding class (for example a business major & teacher teaching java) • The curriculum for AP CS appears to be outdated which doesn’t help current students It is hard to convince tech students to graduate • Lack of school funding and teachers willing to teach ◦ Schools are dealing with this circular problem where kids need to learn coding, but teachers can’t teach it ◦ Salary differences: median for software developer is $84,360 and classroom teacher is $56,383
  3. Q: Why aren’t kids interested in coding? “In other words,

    what are some things that turns them off from wanting to learn to code?”
  4. A: • The thing that I wasn’t taught in math

    class was algorithmic thinking ◦ Which is a major step/resource for coding • Kids involved in video games could be gotten to be interested in how these things are made ◦ So targeting elementary school students even with the information of how did that iPad game get made • The hacker image in public media showing a hooded individual in front of green text that gives kids the wrong impression about computer science
  5. Q: What got all of you interested in technology? *Note:

    this question was added in response to another answer in the discussion
  6. A: • I got interested in coding due to the

    hacking in the matrix • I went to a charter school and a teacher had the class compete in groups to build something that the school needed ◦ Seeing an idea and taking it to fruition • My first experience was on my own actually through Codecademy, after I was turned away due to not being in the major to take the classes • I didn’t have internet at home and I my own version of the internet, so I checked out books from the library on making websites at a young age
  7. A: • In my majority hispanic high schools in California,

    programming classes tend to be overwhelmingly male and asian • A hackathon for students that someone attended showed great diversity numbers (45% women, for example) demonstrate that there is an interest from these different groups • Kids that are learning about how to program tend to be boys from families that have the money that can get them a teacher or put them in a summer/afterschool programs (privilege)
  8. Q: How do we get kids willing to learn? “And

    more importantly, how do we get kids of different backgrounds willing to learn?”
  9. A: • Younger kids do much better with activities that

    teach coding skills, not necessarily coding an application • Kids like to see visual output • CodeDay Philly connects to kids’ interests in the arts by individualizes coding activities ◦ Kids already like to make music, draw, play games, etc ◦ Kids will learn how to make music, generate art, build games, etc, thru coding • Hour of Code website also helps with the skills for teaching the algorithmic method of thinking that can be built on top of • Direct family/friend encouragement • The game Roblox is powered by coding and empowers kids to make their worlds better by showing them all of the available options (similar example is Minecraft)
  10. A: • Working part-time at iCanCode the program grows the

    experience that the kids have by building up from building games in Scratch up to Unity ◦ As well as doing hackathons and other events • Normalize them to failure (bugs in code happen frequently), which is new to students
  11. A: • I went from pursuing a math teaching degree,

    to pursuing a CS degree in order to teach CS. Around me however there are many of my peers that have been discouraging me (money, dealing with bad kids, etc.) while I have been going forward with this anyways, there are others that would not follow through on this after hearing it repeatedly • Others tend to be taught in workshops which are paid per class ◦ Shows how money is a major incentive for people wanting to teach • TEALS has classes that are free that people can use it in order to improve and provided curriculum to schools attempting to start a program
  12. A: • Advocate school boards and local government to expand

    CS education for everyone • Something that high school hackathons desperately need are mentors, as majority of attendees are coding for the first time • Coding or game design classes in high schools are elective credits. Moving this towards a graduation requirement filler would be a great way to improve this ◦ Using your hackathon as a place to call the local government with participants (using a script) in order to campaign for this • Organizing with local schools and students so that they continue to have the resources that they need (updating school labs or more access on a campus for interested parties) ◦ “You can teach someone to fish but if they don’t have a fishing rod it doesn’t help them much in the long run”