STEM

Changing the Course with Girls Who Code — Meet Sydney

Each year, we’re honored to join Girls Who Code (GWC) for their Summer Immersion Program, a free 7-week coding camp where girls across the country are hosted at local tech companies to learn coding, professionalism, and network with each other. And each year, we’re in awe of the camaraderie, innovation, and growth of each of these students.

One such student is Sydney H, a 16-year-old from Cornwall High School in NY who is part of our summer program here at Microsoft New York. Sydney is a bright, dedicated student planning on going to an elite college after high school, with her eyes set on either computer science or biomedical engineering. She’s interested in the convergence of art and tech that engineering provides, calling it the “best of best worlds.”

We sat down with Sydney to explore her Girls Who Code experience:

What brought you to Girls Who Code?

My school doesn’t offer that many computer science classes, or tech opportunities in general. I was really interested in learning how to code. The future is all technology, and if I want to go into engineering or STEM in general, I’ll have to know how to code to work with new inventions and innovations.

What kind of coding experience did you have before the summer immersion program?

I did the Hour of Code — they came to our school my freshman and sophomore year. We used Scratch for a day, but the event wasn’t really promoted. If we wanted to do it, we had to go during our free period. When I went to the library, there were about five students there. I went home and showed my younger sister the website, and she was so excited — she wasn’t exposed to that yet in middle school. It was cool to see how everything comes together.

How does coding empower you?

I think that coding empowers me because it gives me the ability to transform the world. As the years go on, technology is becoming bigger and bigger. Through tech, you have the power to help millions of people with their everyday needs. If you have the ability to code you have access to technology. If you have that, you have access to help the world.

What’s the best thing you’ve learned this summer?

The best thing is probably all the languages — there’s so many different ones. We went to visit LinkedIn and one of the employees there told us, “If you know JavaScript and Python, you can work at LinkedIn.” We had just learned Python the day before! It made me realize that knowing those languages can really help you get a job, because you can use coding in different elements.

“We have the ability to be just as powerful as men, if not more, and throughout this cooperation we can do great things.”

What are some highlights from the SIP so far?

Meeting a whole bunch of girls who are just as motivated and inspired as me. A lot of time in school it’s co-ed, and you can feel like the guys are overpowering you sometimes. Here, it’s all girls — you feel the whole sisterhood thing. You know they’re going to be here for you no matter what, and later in life we’ll need each other to get through the STEM field and process it as a woman. We have the ability to be just as powerful as men, if not more, and throughout this cooperation we can do great things.

Has GWC changed your path at all?

I’m definitely interested more in Computer Science. Before the program, I was really set on biomedical engineering, but now, I’m just like, “Whoa — this is really cool!” We even made our own game. I’ve played Flappy Bird before and this summer I made my own version, and it wasn’t as hard as i thought it was.

What advice do you have for future Girls Who Code?

Tell them to tell their friends to join. The more the merrier! I really want girls to feel like they have the power to do whatever they set their minds to. In the STEM field right now, that’s really not the case. We can change that. Bring a friend!

Girls Who Code Returns to Microsoft New York for their Summer Immersion Program!

Summer 2017’s Girls Who Code Instructors: Abigail Miller, teaching assistant; Arabia Simeon, teaching assistant; Remina Greenfield, lead teacher

Microsoft New York will welcome for the third consecutive summer 20 students to attend the Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program. We kick off on July 5!

We are very excited to continue to host this program which inspires, educates, and equips young women with the computing skills to pursue 21st-century opportunities.

We have a stimulating lineup for the girls this summer. In addition to learning to code, we will have the opportunity to provide workshops, field trips and speaking engagements to enhance their learning.

Our first field trip will be to the Microsoft Technology Center for a tech demo in the Envisioning Center, followed by a Moderated Career Panel Discussion and a Microsoft YouthSpark presentation.

Another field trip will be to the Microsoft Flagship Store on 5th Avenue where the girls will receive a VIP tour which will include experiencing HoloLens.  That will be most exhilarating.

We will also be visiting LinkedIn where the girls will have an opportunity to be introduced to their team, experience a Tech Talk focused on LinkedIn Overview & the Economic Graph, a tour of the office, a workshop on Design Thinking and wrapping up the experience with a panel discussion with the Women at LinkedIn.

Now, back at the office, we will bring in several speakers, internal and external leaders, during the course of the program. One of the speaking engagements I am truly looking forward to is bringing back last year’s Girls Who Code teacher, Maya McCoy, who taught our Girls Who Code class in 2016 as well as one of the 2015 teaching assistants, Louise Lai. The extra special part here is the both Maya and Louise are both returning this summer of 2017 within Microsoft TEALS as a Regional Program Manager and with our Microsoft team as a Civic Tech Fellow, respectively. Talk about coming full circle.

The graduation ceremony in August is always an exciting time.  The girls will have the opportunity to present their projects that they created over the summer to their family and friends.  

These girls certainly have an exciting summer ahead of them and we are thrilled to be a part of it!

Microsoft Store and B~STEM Host One-Day Only Events

Microsoft stores, U Village and Bellevue Square.According to BestColleges.com, only 6.7 percent of women are graduating with STEM degrees. With this we have a responsibility today to educate and inspire females of all ages to advance our world by pursuing careers in traditionally male dominated industries.

B~STEM Project and Microsoft Store understand this responsibility. B~STEM Project is an organization focused on helping young girls and women to engage, learn and grow within business and STEM-related disciplines across industries. From June 23 – 30, B~STEM will host We Hack Too, an eight-day virtual hackathon. Select Microsoft Store locations are excited to host kick-off events on Friday, June 23, and set everyone up for a week of fun with a Business Development and Design Incubator.

The events will give high school and college women opportunities to collaborate with professional mentors to design products and develop business strategies, while 8 to 12-year-olds will be invited to attend coding and gaming workshops.

These free events will take place in the following store near you:

Each store event will have its own unique theme spanning STEM-related topics including clean energy, gaming, entertainment and digital media, biotechnology and tech startups. To learn more about the topic of the event at your local Microsoft Store and to register for the event, please visit bstemproject.org.

Not located in a city with an event? Microsoft Store offers a range of free programs, year-round that empower youth by providing direct access to technology and hands-on learning. If you haven’t been to a Microsoft Store program yet, take a look at the video below that captures Microsoft Store YouthSpark camp energy and testimonials from real student and parent participants.

To see a full list of available in-store events and programs at your local Microsoft Store visit, Microsoft.com.

A Summer of STEM at Microsoft Store

Launch into summer with skills-based training at the Microsoft Store!

Our Flagship Microsoft Store at Fifth Avenue is bringing STEM skills to students with a series of FREE YouthSpark summer camps for students aged 6 and up.

This summer series kicks off with an 8-hour hackathon called B-STEM: We Hack Too. We Hack Too is an 8-day virtual hackathon that includes a FREE 1-day launch event inside our Microsoft Store on Friday, June 23. The 1-day event is a Business Development & Design Incubator where girls ages 8-13 attend 2 hours game design workshops (9 am, 12:30 pm and 5 pm).

In addition, high school and college level women collaborate with professional mentors to design products and develop business strategies (8:30am – 7:30 pm). Mentors, Speakers, Food, Swag, Tech Prizes and more. Pre-registration is now open and space is limited. To register and for more information visit www.wehacktoo.org.

Then, the Store starts its summer series with weekly camps for students:

For students aged 6-8:

Minecraft Hour of Code

Students ages 8 and older can save the day and program Minecraft mobs how to behave in our free 90 minute Minecraft Hour of Code. Participants will learn coding concepts such as randomness, entities, loops and events. No previous coding experience is required.

Students will also learn:

  • How computers perform instructions in a sequence
  • How to create a list of instructions to complete a task
  • How to iterate on solutions to complete a task

Make Your Own Story with PowerPoint and Word

In this free hands-on 2 hour camp, students ages 6 to 8 will learn how to create and tell a story using Microsoft PowerPoint and Word. They will explore using drawing tools, selecting and sizing images and icons, creating backgrounds and changing fonts. Activities will focus on learning through hands on guided experiences and collaborative learning in small groups.

At the end of the camp, participants will:

  • Be familiar with key tools in PowerPoint and Word
  • Feel confident using a Surface Device and Pen
  • Create an original story with text and images in a small group

For students aged 8-12:

Code and Create Games with Ozobot Robotics

In this free hands-on 2 hour camp, students ages 8–12 will learn to code and create games with Ozobot robotics. They’ll explore programming the Evo robot with block coding, from completing simple commands right through to creating a dance game. They’ll also learn how robotics are used in the 21st Century and be inspired with how they can be involved.

At the end of the camp, participants will:

  • Be familiar with how robots work
  • Have hands-on experience with block coding and how to program the Evo robot
  • Understand the importance of robotics

Code and Create with Collage Me

Learn how to code in this hands-on programming camp. During the free two-hour Camp, students ages 8 to 12 will work in a real software development environment, gaining experience with Touch Develop. Participants will use their creativity and imagination to develop a unique personal collage that can be shared with family and friends.

At the end of this camp, participants will:

  • Have increased confidence in their technical and coding skills
  • Improve their computational and creative thinking
  • Read and understand code in the Touch Develop environment
  • Create and publish a coded script containing a personal collage

It is recommended that your student bring their own set of headphones for an optimal experience.

Create Digital Art with Fresh Paint

In this free hands-on 2 hour camp, students ages 8 to 12 will learn to create and share their own digital art with the Fresh Paint app for Windows 10. They’ll explore the basics of Fresh Paint, using lifelike oil and watercolors, pastels, and more to craft their own creations. They’ll also get a sneak peek of advanced digital art skills like mixing paint and layering media.

At the end of the camp, participants will:

  • Be familiar with the creative possibilities of digital drawing and painting
  • Have experience with the Fresh Paint layout and tools
  • Create original artwork and share it with peers
  • Learn how to share their art with the swipe of a finger

Minecraft Hour of Code

Students ages 8 and older can save the day and program Minecraft mobs how to behave in our free 90 minute Minecraft Hour of Code. Participants will learn coding concepts such as randomness, entities, loops and events. No previous coding experience is required.

Students will also learn:

  • How computers perform instructions in a sequence
  • How to create a list of instructions to complete a task
  • How to iterate on solutions to complete a task

Kodu Makerspace Event

Create rich and exciting games with Kodu Game Lab in this free, beginner-level coding camp for students ages 8 to 12.

They’ll work on Kodu games like Boku’s Amazing Race, Flashy Fishbots, and Air Delivery. In the process, they learn how interesting and powerful games can be created with simple building blocks and techniques. Participants will: analyze and revise game character, write code to create game action, collaboratively plan and create a Kodu game, give and receive peer feedback, and explore the iterative design process. Some activities will be interactive tutorials, while others entail hands-on, open-ended game design. Every session will include collaborative design and development activities.

This four-day camp lasts two hours per day, and students must attend the days consecutively.

Get Creative with 3D in Windows 10 Camp

The world we live in is multidimensional, so shouldn’t our art be as well? Students ages 8-12 will bring their imagination to life by learning new Paint 3D in Windows 10. This free 2-hour field trip offers a high-energy, collaborative environment for participants to fuel their creativity and learn key tools and features of the 3D app.

At the end of the field trip, participants will have:

  • Learned the fundamentals of the Paint 3D app and all about Remix3D.com community
  • Learned how to express their ideas in three dimensions by creating their own 3D designs
  • Hands-on experience with Microsoft devices and software via a scavenger hunt through Microsoft Store

For students 13+:

Learn to Code with Flatverse

In this free coding camp, students ages 13 and over will use Touch Develop, an interactive programming environment website, to create and publish their own video game called Flatverse.

As they build their game, they learn about various computer programming and coding concepts, including screen coordinates, random numbers, objects and functions, and more. Throughout the camp series, they will take a deeper dive into these programming and coding concepts to gain more confidence and skill. The ultimate goal is for participants to gain an appreciation for coding’s role in the games they may play in their daily lives, and to provide an inspirational foundation for pursuing their interest in computer science.

This four-day camp lasts two hours per day, and students must attend the days consecutively.

Shoot Edit & Share with PicsArt 

Increase your photo shooting and editing creativity with this free YouthSpark Camp. During this camp series, students ages 13 and older will learn how to use PicsArt, an interactive editing, drawing, and collage app. This app, which is available on Windows 10 devices, includes numerous photo-editing features, customizable filters, text options, a collage maker, and a camera. Learn how to transform photos into works of art with just the tip of your finger.​​

At the end of this Workshop, participants will:​​

  • Know how to use a powerful photo-editing software​​
  • Understand composition and best practices for photography​​Learn to sketch and turn anything into a drawing
  • Create easy graphic design edits​​
  • Create amazing photo edits ​​
  • Leave with a certificate of completion and an image portfolio​​

Create Digital Art with Fresh Paint

Explore the freedom and power of creating original digital art with this free 2 hour camp on the Fresh Paint app for Windows 10. Students ages 13 and older will use an array of tools to create lifelike paintings, original drawings, collages, and so much more. They’ll take a tour of Fresh Paint basics, then explore more advanced skills like blending paint colors and layering mixed media to create their own unique works of art. Activities and experiences are a central part of the class, with opportunities to share artwork and to learn along with peers.

At the end of the camp, participants will:

  • Know some of the creative possibilities of digital art
  • Be familiar with brushes, mixing palettes, canvas options, and more
  • Explore features like switching tools, mixing colors, and importing pictures
  • Create meaningful artwork and share it with peers
  • Learn how to share art with the swipe of a finger

Start Your Own Business

Success has no boundaries. This free four-session camp series helps students ages 13 and older turn their passion into a great entrepreneurial business idea. Participants get guidance developing their ideas into a robust business plan and a polished pitch ready to share with the world.

Each two-hour session takes students through a series of engaging hands-on group activities to introduce key business concepts, including:

• How to create a product or service
• Marketing and promotion
• Pricing and costs
• Manufacturing and distribution

During the final session, participants will have the opportunity to present their complete business plan for feedback and insight.


Register today to reserve a camp spot at microsoft.com/youthsparkcamp.

DigiGirlz NYC #MakeWhatsNext

On Wednesday, May 17th, close to one hundred high school girls from the New York Metro area gathered at the Microsoft 11 Times Square office to be inspired to #MakeWhatsNext.

We had a full agenda for the girls with opening remarks made by Microsoft’s Felicia Guity, General Manager Worldwide Education Channel.  She shared very inspiring words, including but not limited to, women have power and why girls should consider STEM.  This sparked insightful questions from the audience.  One of those questions was by a girl who shared she is very good in math however not much on the technical side and wanted to know how she could incorporate math into a technical company.  Well Felicia answered that there are many opportunities even if someone is not technical, referencing varying roles such as Sales, Finance and Human Resources, which are great roles to utilize math skills.

After opening remarks, the girls went through a rotation of three break-out sessions consisting of an Microsoft Technology Center (MTC) Envisioning Demo, Intro to Coding hosted by ScriptEd and a Career Development/Personal Branding session hosted by Germosen Education Advisors and by IAMCP, respectively.

As I rotated with one of the groups through each session I had the opportunity to coincidentally meet one of the girls who will be attending the Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program we will be hosting in our 11 Times Square office, small world!  She took a bus, on DigiGirlz Day and will be doing the same each day of the upcoming GWC program, from where she lives to the 11 Times Square office which took a duration of one and half hours, one way.  That is dedication to STEM!

This same girl participated in one of the demos in the Envisioning Center by getting up to experience the Skype Translation feature.  She spoke Spanish which was then translated in English to the recipient and vice versa.  It was quite an exciting experience for her.

During ScriptEd’s Into to Coding, the girls were taught basics of JavaScript.  The session opened with a group circle for introductions and each girl shared a superpower they wanted to have, many wanted to fly.  By the end of the session, each girl had a new superpower, coding!

IAMCP hosted an insightful session on Personal Branding led by Lisa Eyerkuss, President of Corporate Training Group, Inc., and a college prep session hosted by Julissa Germosen, Founder/CEO of Germosen Education Advisors.

After lunch the girls ended their day with an outstanding career panel moderated by Dr. Felicia Guity, our panelists:

  • Nashira Layade – Senior VP @ Realogy Holdings Corp
  • Maurya Couvare – Co-Founder/Executive Director @ ScriptEd
  • Lisa Eyerkuss – Founder/President @ Corporate Training Group
  • Laurie Carey – Founder @ We Connect the Dots
  • CAT Susch – Technology Architect @ Microsoft Corporation
  • Farah Kirshteyn – Senior A.E. @ Arrow Systems Integration

As our DigiGirlz Day ended, I had an opportunity to ask one of the DigiGirlz what her favorite part of the event was and she shared that it was Intro to Code (she loves coding!) and Personal Branding. She is fairly new to coding and learned a lot of new things. On the Personal Branding, she shared that it was something she never thought of and left that session with some great insights.

WOW!  What a day these girls had, they all left with some great new experiences, new friends and were encouraged throughout the day to be themselves and to #MakeWhatsNext.

NYC Computer Science Opportunity Fair Brings STEM to Students

Last week, we partnered with CSNYC, Computer Science for All, the Technology Education and Literacy in Schools (TEALS), and others to sponsor New York’s largest annual college and career inspiration event for CS-oriented public high school students. The fourth annual NYC Computer Science Opportunity Fair hosted over 2,000 students from 60 schools across all five boroughs as well as 90 companies, colleges, and extracurricular programs. Invited students were chosen based on their participation in TEALS, NYC CS4All, and other CS and career and technical education programs. The program’s aimed to excite students about the myriad of educational and professional opportunities that often result from a CS education. By showcasing the culture & products of leading tech companies, the fair nurtures the aspirations of blossoming young technologists.

Colleges, companies, and various extracurricular programs demonstrated the experiences of project-building in academic and workforce environments. Relevant CS departments exhibited current and past research projects and informed students about offerings within their respective programs. Our exhibit booth featured an interactive gaming station as well as the opportunity to Skype with a Microsoft engineer. Most notably popular was our Intelligent Kiosk demo, which used the suite of Cognitive Services APIs to guess students’ ages and emotion relayed via facial expression. HoloLens experiences were also offered for students who wanted to try out augmented reality.

As students perused booths, they had the option to scan their badge’s QR code by staffers. After the fair, students could then use their badge to log into the fair’s web portal and view info about each booth visited. Each check-in was worth an entry in the event’s CS raffle, which awarded prizes periodically during the event. Prizes ranged from gift cards to class visits to prominent tech companies. Microsoft submitted two Xbox One units to be raffled off. Check-ins proved to be hugely popular; By the end of the fair, students had checked into booths 8,100 times!

A very excited winner of an XBox One (photo via csfair.nyc)

Various guest speakers also came in throughout the day for a series of networking, panels, and tech talks. Participating groups included the Tech Leaders Panel, CS@College Panels, Music and Tech Panels, and Lightning Talks. Lightning talk speakers discussed entrepreneurship, data modeling/visualization, computer vision, cloud solutions, online privacy, user research, product management, and more.

Microsoft Tech Evangelist, Adina Shanholtz, demoing HoloLens (photo via csfair.nyc)

Students who wanted more hands-on activities could put their tech skills to work by contributing to one of the four maker space projects. The stations offered students the ability to connect LED diodes to lithium batteries, create electromyography drawings, build real-world Minecraft creations, or engineer CS puppet animations.

Perhaps the most exciting new program addition this year was the first-ever student showcase. Numerous students from around the NYC area submitted computer science projects to be reviewed for participation. Eight outstanding projects were selected as finalists to pitch to a judging panel comprised of notable tech leaders and Department of Ed administrators. After thorough consideration, two winning teams were chosen: CODEX, who compared A* performance using various paradigms, and Digital Dance, who used Sphero robot balls to program a mixed-media performance.

Through interactive and hands-on experience, young New Yorkers had a plethora of opportunities to begin to explore their professional interests. Hardware enthusiasts battled robots, physics fanatics learned about quantum computing, and internet of things aficionados played with wearable electronic devices. Companies and universities varied in size, allowing participants to experience differences and weigh which options might seem most appealing as they launch into postsecondary education. Most importantly, it exposes youth at an earlier age, giving them more knowledge, more options, and more resources with which to build a career.

We extend a huge thank you to all of our volunteers and partners who helped us make this event useful and fun for both students and staff. For more information about the CS Opportunity Fair, check out their website at http://csfair.nyc/.

#MakeBetterHappen — City Year AmeriCorps Member Appreciation Month

Do you know that March is City Year AmeriCorps Member Appreciation Month? Well, if you don’t, let me tell you a bit about City Year New York and the amazing team we sponsor at JHS218 James P Sinnott in Brooklyn. This will help you understand why there is an entire month for us to show our appreciation for their work.

City Year works to bridge the gap in high-poverty communities between the support students actually need, and what their schools are designed to provide. Their teams of AmeriCorps members work as tutors, mentors and role models to help students reach 10th grade on time and on track, making them three times more likely to graduate.

I had an opportunity to speak with City Year Impact Manager, Matt Davidson, and he shared with me some of the exciting events and programs that he and his Corps members are providing at JHS218, which are having such a positive impact on the students, school and community.

During the month of February, the team hosted a social affirmation event to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Each student was asked to write something positive about themselves, their school or their community. These writings were anonymous and were posted in a common area to create positive awareness on the Wall of Appreciation for the entire month.

For Pi Day, 3/14, the JHS218 team planned a carnival of different math activities to use as an alternate way for the students to get excited about math. Since the New York area experienced a snowstorm on Pi Day this has been rescheduled. I look forward to hearing the outcome!

STEM week will be hosted at the end of April. This will be an all week-long event where students will conduct science experiments as a way of learning in a different way and practicing mindfulness. It will also provide a positive distraction from the stress of their standardized tests.

The Corps members also lead several clubs after school such as coding, science and dance. These clubs will run through spring break. They also oversee a college and career readiness program.

Wow, right!? And this is just a sampling of what they are doing to make an impact at the school. They are really making better happen!

As the Corps members reach the end of their year of service, some of them will be moving onto graduate masters programs. One Corps member will be attending Fordham University, another will be going to the University of Southern California and a third will be attending the University of Minnesota. Impressive! Not only are they currently making better happen for the students of JHS218, they will be making better happen for themselves. I can’t wait to see what is next for them.

Additionally, a current Corps member is looking to stay on at City Year to be a team leader. True dedication.

Thank you to the entire AmeriCorps team at JHS218! Not only do you give a year of service, you also give your heart and soul to the school and students, and are truly making a difference.

  • Chelsea Bowens
  • Lily Cannon
  • N’Dia Dugue
  • Bri Fisher
  • Liza Gerwig
  • Alyissa Gooding
  • Brian McGovern
  • Nikita Stewart
  • David Tom
  • Michael Ventura

# THANKYOUCORPS!

Looking Back at Computer Science Education Week 2016

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Last week, we joined a revolution as Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek) launched worldwide, inspiring students to incorporate CS education into their daily lives. We celebrated by sharing stories like CoderDojo‘s special computer science lessons for children, and by participating in Hour of Code events throughout the New York Metro area.

Meanwhile, our community engaged on the same level, hosting Hour of Code events at New York Public Schools and beyond. We’re thrilled to see our neighbors committed to the future of education, honoring the importance of computer science for all.

A look at local celebrations of CSEdWeek:

Find out more about #hourofcode here: hourofcode.com/us.

Coding Outside the Classroom: CoderDojo NYC Teaches Children Computer Science Fundamentals

CoderDojo NYC students work at the Microsoft Store on 5th Ave. Photo from CoderDojo NYC.

Computer Science Education Week is a nationwide initiative suggesting that every student try coding for one hour. Learning the basics of computer science prepares students for a world that is increasingly dominated by technology90 percent of parents want their children to study computer science, and computing jobs are the number one source for new income. Despite 517,393 open computing jobs nationwide, only 42,989 computer science students graduated into the workforce last year. As technology continues to permeate our lives, the demand for employees in the tech sector grows with it, with one million more computer science jobs than people qualified to fill them by 2020.

American schools, however, don’t seem to be ahead of the trend. While the CS For All initiative has led some districts to see the importance in computer science classes, 40 percent of schools still don’t teach computer programming, and only six states have created computer science standards for grades K-12. The reason? Officials don’t think kids have interest in learning computer science. Although New York announced plans to offer all students programming classes by 2025, fewer than 10 percent of city schools currently offer any form of computer science education, and only 1 percent of students are currently in CS classes.

But students do have interest.

Living proof is CoderDojo, a global network of programming clubs for young people. More than 1,400 New York families have annually attended CoderDojo NYC since the chapter opened. At CoderDojo NYC, the mission is to create a fun, creative and collaborative out-of-school environment to explore STEM, where students can build memorable experiences with mentors to ignite passion for technology at an early age.

Coding bootcamps and specialized workshops can get expensive. But CoderDojo NYC, like all the Dojos, is completely free, volunteer-led and open to anyone age 7 to 17. The monthly workshops in the greater New York City area serve as an informal, creative and social environment for young people to learn to code and explore web, game and app development.

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Photo from CoderDojo NYC

The NYC chapter of the nonprofit was co-founded by Carl Sednaoui and Rebecca Garcia in 2012. Garcia took to technology at a young age, teaching herself to code when she was 14. She’s now a Program Manager for Tech Jobs Academy as well as the CoderDojo NYC co-founder.

Garcia explained that there are more than 1,000 chapters of CoderDojo in 60 countries.

‘The idea is that anyone can start a CoderDojo chapter and provide open and accessible education for youth around the globe,” Garcia told us. “Any Saturday, type ‘#CoderDojo’ on Twitter, and you can see chapters from all over the globe coding and tinkering.”

At CoderDojo NYC, children create and build at the half-day hackathon-style workshops through project-based learning, Garcia explained. Projects are sometimes civic-themed or themed for the season. CoderDojo NYC will host a special all-ages event for Hour of Code on Dec. 10 where the theme will be climate change.

What makes the CoderDojo experience so successful is that students receive one-on-one guidance from a mentor, Garcia said.

“The special thing is that there’s only one volunteer for every student,” she said. “It’s very different from a standard classroom environment with one teacher and 30 students.”

Photo from CoderDojo NYC

These CoderDojo NYC volunteers range from more seasoned technology professionals to educators, designers and even students themselves learning to code.

“These people give back to the community through providing guidance and mentorship. They find it very rewarding,” Garcia said.

Children learn using MIT’s Scratch and Arduino’s littleBits programming tools. While students are definitely learning computer science fundamentals through visual programming, Garcia stressed the importance in sparking love of learning at an earlier age.  

“It’s more about exploring creativity through technology,” she said.

Many students move on and learn more coding skills at longer-term programs that CoderDojo NYC has partnerships with, such as Girls Who Code and Nano Hackers Academy. One CoderDojo NYC student, Kiera Cawley, started coding when she was nine and went on to be the youngest person to receive a WWDC scholarship at 12 years old.

CoderDojo NYC maintains partnerships with schools in underrepresented areas and has a naturally occurring 50-50 gender ratio and ethnic diversity. The median age of attendees is 12 to 13.

One seventh grader from Queens, Rebecca Feldman, told the New York Times that she started going to CoderDojo NYC after she became discouraged at her robotics after-school program.

“I was one of two girls in the class,” she told the Times. “We kind of had to fend for ourselves.”

Garcia became a mentor for the student, who became known as Little Rebecca. Garcia recalled that Little Rebecca had never heard of computer science before, but after her first CoderDojo NYC session, she told her parents, “I really like this. Is this something you can do for a living?”

Learn more about CoderDojo on Saturday, Dec. 10 at Hour of Code during Computer Science Education Week.

Drive Digital Literacy This Computer Science Education Week With The Hour of Code

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Every December, something special happens for students around the world. Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek), held annually in December in recognition of the birthday of computing pioneer Grace Hopper (December 9, 1906), is a grassroots campaign dedicated to inspiring K-12 students to take interest in computer science. The campaign, originally conceived by the Computing in the Core coalition, is now spearheaded by Code.org alongside 350 partners and 100,000 educators worldwide.

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Stats via Code.org.

This year, CSEdWeek runs from December 5, 2016 through December 11, 2016, and we’re ready to once again be on board. With over 500,000 open computing jobs nationwide — despite the fact that only 42,969 computer science students graduated into the workforce in 2016 — we’re ready to engage the next generation of coders and drive innovation throughout the world. Organizations like CSNYC are helping to make this happen, by providing programming in key areas to bring access to high-quality computer science education to all of New York City’s 1.1. million public school students. The Computer Science for All Initiative (CS4All), initiative to scale computer science education (CS) to 100% of the City’s public schools plans to bring computer science to all NYC students by 2025.

But that’s just the first step. Computer science is a foundational skill and it’s up to us to ensure that every 21st century child gets the chance to learn how technology works.

So how do we get this done?

The centerpiece of CSEdWeek lies within a program devised by Code.org named the Hour of Code. An Hour of Code is a basic coding tutorial that new coders of all ages — and over 45 languages — can use to begin their journey in computer science. In over 180 countries, 305,078,080 students have performed an Hour of Code since its inception. It’s time to add to this total.

This CSEdWeek, we’re inviting you to take the coding challenge: give a child the gift of computer science and join them in an Hour of Code.

Local Hour of Code programming this CSEdWeek at the Microsoft Store:

YouthSpark: Hour of Code

Join us for this free, 90-minute workshop to take part in the global Hour of Code movement during Computer Science Education Week. Go behind the scenes to learn how to code, program, and play in your own gaming world. You’ll use fun, interactive coding to learn how creativity and problem solving come together to make something all your own. Workshop designed for ages 8 and older.

Monday, December 5, 2016 | 4:00 PM

Tuesday, December 6, 2016 | 4:00 PM

Wednesday, December 7, 2016 | 4:00 PM

Thursday, December 8, 2016 | 4:00 PM

Friday, December 9, 2016 | 4:00 PM

MInecraft Build Challenge

This free Minecraft workshop at your local Microsoft Store offers a fun, hands-on experience for players of every age. Join a team to create something epic before the clock runs out. Prior Minecraft experience is recommended but not required.

Saturday, December 10, 2016 | 11:00 AM

Minecraft Hour of Code

Join us for this free, 90-minute camp to explore a Minecraft world through code and to take part in the global Hour of Code movement. Use blocks of code to take Steve or Alex on an adventure through a Minecraft world. You’ll use kid-friendly programming to learn how creativity and problem solving come together to make something all your own. Curriculum designed for ages 8 and older.  It is recommended that your student bring their own set of headphones for an optimal experience.

Sunday, December 11, 2016 |  2:00 PM