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Whiz Kids: Teaching Kids to Code

V2.

Why Whiz Kids?

I recently had the opportunity to hear from some of our leaders in technology, such as the creator of Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter and other creators of software and tools that today we use today, like we use the pencil or paper.

They all shared a common thread.

To be a citizen on planet earth today, you need to speak today's language. Today's language is programming. The majority of the things we have and use in our daily life are related to programming. From our household appliances to our vehicles, to the tools we use to read and learn.

Where I discovered the need?

After delivering a talk at my daughter's Career Day, it came to my attention that children weren't allowed to begin practicing STEM classes or computer programming until 5th grade, and even then only as a part of an after school program. There is a need at the 2nd-5th grade level that isn't being met.

As I thought about how I got started coding as a girl in school who loved computers I remembered a television series called the Whiz Kids.

This show inspired me to learn about programming, hardware and software, and it was fun!

Who is this for?

The Whiz Kids project is for all children (though initially focused on girls), that they learn the language of software, just as they learn the language of english. That they learn the value of thier creativity and the power they have to create anything they can think of.

As this project evolves, there will be a 2-5th grade level session (early elementary), a 5-8 grade session (middle school) and a session specifically geared at high school students. These sessions would be provided in an after-school care settings and week-long spring, winter and summer camps.

Where will it launch first?

We will begin in South Florida, with the intention to move through out Florida and nationwide as the business expands and scales.

Why me?

During my career as a computer software engineer, I have had the opportunity to teach thousands of adults. I have taught everything from the methodology of coding to Sr. Architect level engineering courses for enterprise programming firms. I have a passion for teaching and learning. I want to bring this enthusiasm to our younger generations, and teach them that they can create anything, that they have a super power (their brain + their passion), if they only knew how to use it. These classes will show them how.

Version 1.

Have you been to a toy store or even a toy section of a store lately? You will notice something interesting. There is a clear dilineation between the toys geared towards girls and boys. They are often separated by aisle and in large toy stores in sections. I walked into a store recently to find that the store was split in half. One side for boys, the other for girls.

The types of toys available to boys and girls differ greatly as well. There is even a petition today to stop toys from being catagorized this way... as it places uneccesary limitations on the children who might choose to play with them.

Toys catagorized for "boys" tend to be toys that involve strategy, science, building and active play. These are skills that should not just be available to boys because they happen to be in the blue section of the store.

So I have created an after-school, spring break, winter break, and summer prorgram for girls who's parents want them exposed to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathmatics). We have weekly sessions that allow girls ages 6-12 and 13-18 to build a development project start to finish and deploy it to the "cloud". An example would be learning how to develop a game or app for mobile devices, or create a website to advertise for a cause.

The purpose of these weeks together is to teach software development concepts and include community contribution and collaboration with their peers. The trainers will be women interns in college that will help teach the younger generations.

GeekGirl Code Camps have a mission to offer to schools, churches, and community centers a session for girls who want to learn more about technology and build a project that can change the world.

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