As I mentioned in my previous blog, having ScriptEd in my school allowed me to learn more about front-end web development since developers were teaching my students. I had the opportunity to observe how the developers thought about coding and approached it. Since they were teaching fundamentals to the students, I observed how important they were in understanding how to code. I was able to learn with my students, and through this process, I became more motivated to explore coding and computer science in general. I went on trips with ScriptEd to technology startups and CS fairs. I also took some trips on my own, such as to the IgniteStem conference. Through ScriptEd and IgniteStem, I learned about hackathons, which is a design sprint-like event in which computer programmers and others involved in software development collaborate intensively on software projects. I attended ScriptEd’s hackathon, where my students created websites in teams for 10 hours. It was really amazing to see my students working together to create a website. I wanted to learn more about hackathons, and began seeking them out. At the IgniteStem conference, I was able to learn about hackathons more thoroughly, and was given a toolkit to run one at my own school. These events gave me the opportunity to see the importance of CS for all students.
Hackathons were not only competitions where students created a product by the end, but they also gave students the opportunity to work collaboartively to solve a problem. Through the hackathons, they learned the practical soft skills that are required in today’s world. Even though they didn’t win, I could see that they enjoyed themselves. I’m sure they contributed to one of my student’s desire to go to a city technical school, where she could study to become a software engineer or another career that would allow her to work with computers.
I went into education with the desire to teach my students a subject that I was passionate about and help them become better people in the process. Over the last few years, I’ve found that I’m using Latin and now coding to teach my students more of the latter. The subject that I teach is a means to an end. This realization contributes to my decision to pivot from being a Latin teacher to a CS teacher. The lessons that I’ve learned from ScriptEd, NYCDA, and IgniteStem have taught me that CS is an excellent subject to teach students how to become better people and citizens. It’s not only the widespread use of computers that has contributed to this realization, but also the dynamic ways that CS allows people to solve problems and work in teams. It’s my goal to learn as much about CS as I can, so that I can help students learn the necessary skills to survive in this ever-changing world.