I own a web-based business and I’m an avid blogger/social media type. One would assume that I would be quite the tech savvy mama. The truth is… I’m not. Luckily when I’m hanging around the office, there are a plethora of smarty-pant nerd types who can help me out. When I’m at home, I have to pull in the big guns for tech support help. And when I say big guns, I mean my tweens.
Let’s face it, it makes sense that they’re my tech support – kids are on gadgets from a pretty young age. They’re exposed to everything – from iPads to gaming gadgets. And while they indulge in all of these digital pleasures, what do they actually know about building technology?
My best guess is not much. Schools are doing their best, but unless your child’s school has a teacher with a coding background to champion an initiative, they’re not likely to ever see a computer literacy & coding program. Although the job market is desperate for folks trained in computer science, it’s not part of the standard curriculum and continues to be marginalized in the school system.
But not all is lost. Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and the Case Foundation are amongst the founding funders of Code.org – a non-profit organization dedicated to growing computer science education degrees by making it available in more schools, and increasing participation by women and underrepresented students of color. And learning to code using Code.org is 100% free and available to anyone.
Mabel’s Labels recently met another advocate, Gillian Gutenberg. Gillian is a software consultant concerned with the lack of programming and coding education for kids in schools. She started helloworldcamp.com to offer kids of all ages the opportunity to learn the basics of coding, how to build robots and the chance to take field trips to tech companies – all in the spirit of striking an interest and appreciation for what goes into the apps and programs we take for granted.
Camps and programs such as helloworldcamp.com exist in many cities. A few great organizations you can check out include:
- Ladies Learning Code: A growing organization across Canada that teaches both genders how to code
- Hackademy: A Waterloo-based resource
- Girls Who Code: A NYC-based organization with workshops & summer programs
- MakerKids: For kids in the Toronto area
- Brooklyn Robot Foundry: In Brooklyn, NY
- Black Girls Code
- All Star Code
And now, Mabel’s Labels is helping helloworldcamp.com bring programming to more children by purchasing Robot Kits that can be used in summer camps and PA Day Camps. The number of children that can participate is limited to the resources available. So, our hope is that Gillian can expand her business to more cities to inspire more children.
We recently hosted a “Learn to Code a Robot” day at Mabel HQ. Staffers and their kiddos had a fabulous day of learning with Gillian. My kids wouldn’t stop talking about it and have been re-thinking their original career plans.
You never know… My tween tech support may one day become the Bill Gates’ of the future!