Onramps to Computer Science


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By Marc Lesser. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

This conversation is with a group of founders designing novel learning experiences to engage learners. The conversation explores each approach, and what values they bring to what they design and build for learners. How does "engagement" relate to what skills, identities, and dispositions these experts hope that learners attain including but not limiting to computer science.

Armando Somoza is a new media artist, technologist, social entrepreneur, and educator. He is committed to the creative application of immersive learning experiences, cultural entrepreneurship, and digital technologies as an agent of provocation and change. He holds an MFA in Emergent Digital Practice and a BA in Ethnic Studies. He is a career educator, artist, and technologist currently serving as a graduate level Adjunct Professor at NYU Steinhardt and CEO & Co-Founder of Rapport Studios, a creative agency that exists to disrupt, awaken, and reorient people’s relationship to knowledge and culture. Our product, CodeSCTY, leverages original hip hop music and youth culture to teach computational thinking and coding - like Schoolhouse Rock for coding.

Chenits Pettigrew is an accomplished musician, educator, entrepreneur and creative director. Through innovative curriculum development, live performance, multimedia creation and master classes, his work aims to foster sustainable change. He has worked with arts and community organizations domestically and internationally in pursuit of this mission. He is the co-founder of Soul Science Lab, a music and multimedia production company and Chief Creative Officer of Rapport Studios, a creative education agency. At Rapport he is focused on building dynamic content for CodeScty, a product that uses original hip hop music to teach computer science concepts. Chenits holds a Bachelor of Arts in Media Studies from Pennsylvania State University and an interdisciplinary Master’s in Music Business & Tech and Art as Activism from New York University.

Leandra Tejedor and her cofounder Alexandra Diracles are proving that the best way to teach teens, especially girls, computer programming is go where they live: social media videos. It's a Javascript coding curriculum that can be used as a stand-alone course or a unit within a CS course. Vidcode has reached over 150,000 students (62% girls) in 113 countries, and recently partnered with Snapchat to help enable teens to code their own snapchat filters. Tejedor holds a degree in design and interactive media from Ramapo College.

We often forget how rare it is that any of us as learners truly stumbles upon a deep motivation, a love for a topic, or enthusiasm for new skills out of nowhere. And yet, so many of the approaches we take through institutional learning make the assumption that you - empty vessel awaiting relevant knowledge - are eager to dive in. Today especially, we're obsessed as a country with "readiness." For the future, for jobs, for the challenges of tomorrow, but nobody every got ready for anything by having others shove it cram it down our throat. As many of you are aware, thoughtful, well-designed onramps can be the difference between pushing through an already cracked door, and feeling around aimlessly for a secret opening in a library wall like in a scene from Harry Potter. You get what I'm saying - meet everyone...

Links from this episode:

Kiki Dance Challenge



Mark Guzdial, University of Michigan:

72 episodes