For Computer Science Education Week, Ucodemy visited Clintondale Middle School in Detroit, for an Hour of Code that included 400 students. This was just a fraction of the over 60,000 students we had do ITCH hour of code courses world wide over this week!
We had a great time and learned a lot! Here’s our highlights from the event!
Stars – not the ones at night
We were fortunate to be able to reach out to a Whitehouse representative through our membership with CSForALL. This ultimately made a huge difference for student engagement. Dr. Christal Sheppard, pictured below, a Harvard graduate and director of the US Patent and Trademark Office, quickly wooed the students.
Dr. Sheppard offered star-power, and she provided students with an example of educational achievement that helped kids see their own potential pathway for success. For so many students who are underrepresented in computer science careers, moments like these can be instrumental. She even participated in the event by creating her own dog chasing project recorded below.
Dog chasing project created for the 2016 Hour of Code at Clintondale.
Buzz – not the bee variety
Making a buzz in the school and community gets everyone excited. From the superintendent, the building administration and the classroom teachers, buzz was one of the key reasons we generated so much student interest. The principles coordinated a meeting with all the teachers, so they could see our Hour of Code activity firsthand. It also provided teachers a chance to learn more about the current opportunities for students in computer science. Several of them even joined in the fun and worked on their own Hour of Code project!
The buzz wasn’t limited to school staff, we also had several parents join us throughout the day due to the school’s outreach. Studies from Digital Youth Network show that having students have resources from school be supported in the home can greatly increase student participation. We are always so excited and grateful to see parents join us during a school event.
Test – not a multiple choice
Thanks to the great Information Technology team at Clintondale, we had a great experience with the technology during the event. We did multiple tests with the Chromebook setups on the day before to make sure that we could get 50 students simultaneously signed in. From this preparation, we were able to ensure that the wifi network was balanced. It also gave us a chance to make sure the activities we were connecting to handled sign-on spikes without any issue as well. For ITCH, we adjusted our server up just a bit to make sure there would be no hiccups. With big events, it is always great when the technology all works as planned.
Afterwards – it’s not goodbye
At the end of the event, we made sure to have a plan to continue coding with Clintondale Middle School. This was just the first step of the school’s new computer science initiative. We worked to continue the buzz by mentioning the new coding electives that students could choose next semester with the same ITCH coding resources. This kind of enthusiasm for a new program can help ensure that all students are represented in the program, and we expect Clintondale’s a great success.
You? – well really, it’s the students
Of course, we’d love to have you try out ITCH and help create this same buzz at your school as well. If you are ready to start coding with your class, or even if you don’t know if you are ready, you can join a free webinar to learn more about our program and how we can get you started in minutes.