To Code And Beyond — Computer Science at Play at Cornell Tech

 |   Rebecca Garcia, Program Manager for Tech Jobs Academy

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Photo via Microsoft YouthSpark

It was an honor to join Cornell Tech as they hosted the second annual To Code and Beyond: Computer Science at Play Conference. This conference brings together organizations and contributors to K-12 Computer Science (CS) education who deliver impact not only in the Greater NYC area but across the US and globally.

With over 1.1 million youth in NYC public schools, there are less than 5% receiving computer science (CS) education. New York City Deputy Mayor Richard Buery asked, “How do we spark a love of computers and technology among our young people? The economy demands out young people grow these skills [to] thrive in the economy. How do you create excitement?”

Debbie Marcus from the NYC Department of Education also raised the question, “How do we provide computer science education to every student regardless of age, gender race, and to see computer science as a literacy?” The idea is not only to create a pathway for youth to explore CS careers, but to see it as a valuable skill that opens opportunity in other fields as well.

Earlier this year, CSNYC announced the CS for All Initiative, a 10-year, $80 million plan to bring computer science education to every student in the New York City public schools. After two years of operation, CSNYC now reaches 7% of the City’s schools and 10,000 students who fully represent the economic, ethnic, and gender diversity of the City.

To Code And Beyond was a culmination of not only sharing years of technology education work, but sharing resources and an open forum for ideas and collaboration. The conference consisted of keynotes, panel discussions that highlighted innovative ways to engage youth not only through CS curriculum, but out of the classroom; per Diane Levitt of Cornell Tech, ‘the vibrancy of informal education’.

The conference highlighted initiatives such as CS4All and organizations across the Greater NYC Area including CSNYC and its CS4All Consortium, NY Hall of Science, Lower East Side Girls Club, and FIRST Robotics NYC supported by national tech companies.

Currently in 23 high schools across the Greater NYC Area and around the US, Microsoft TEALS (Technology Education and Literacy in Schools) helps high schools build sustainable computer science programs by pairing trained computer science professionals.

What can NYC local organizations and schools do to access CS education and reach more youth?

Local NYC organizations and schools can join the CS for All movement and attend CS NYC pedagogy meetups, joining the NYC STEM education network, STEM Funders Network, CS for All Consortium, or Hive NYC.

Next month, we’re excited to celebrate Computer Science Education Week (CS Ed Week). From Dec 5th-11th across the globe, anyone, anywhere can organize an Hour of Code event. One-hour tutorials are available in over 45 languages. No experience needed for this training geared toward new coders ages 4 to 104.

Start now: Find a local YouthSpark or Minecraft Event near you.

Rebecca Garcia is a Program Manager for Tech Jobs Academy. Previously she was awarded as a U.S. White House Champion of Change for ‘Tech Inclusion’, named one of Glamour Magazine’s Top 35 Women Under 35 Changing the Tech Industry’ and Hispanicize’s STEM Star for her non-profit work as Co-founder of CoderDojo NYC.

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