Since 2015, we’ve had the pleasure of teaching students from the age of seven to seventeen to code all over Santa Cruz County. These students contributed to how we iterated on and improved our app, curriculum, and approach to teaching. The benefit of working directly with students were immense but the important will always be that kids are brutally honest. They told us what parts of the app they hated, what didn’t make sense, and never held back in telling us what they wanted.
We never anticipated that such young students would have such an easy time learning to program but as we got teaching we saw how natural it was for them to communicate their ideas using a programming language as an intermediary. These students grew up with technology at their finger tips and had clear ideas for what they wanted to code. This made it easy to teach hard concepts as they always had their own motivation for learning and pushing through. Whether it was programming their own Flappy Bird or just making someone an animated Birthday card – students overcame and applied concepts that lead many first year computer science students to consider changing majors.
Students haven’t been the only ones learning to code. Over the last 2 years teachers across Santa Cruz County have taught thousands of students to code all by themselves using the codenaturally app and curriculum. These brave teachers took on an app that was half-complete in our first year, successfully taught their classes, and provided us with insights that lead to huge improvements in both our app and our curriculum.
Working directly with these students, schools, and teacher taught more than we could’ve hoped for. We’ve focused our energy into developing curriculum, support material, and training that makes it possible for every teacher in America to bring coding into their classroom. Our approach is to ensure that students use programming to create projects based on their own ideas and imagination. Teachers learn along with their students and have the support of tested curriculum, rubrics, and a team with years of experience as they go on their journey to code and create.
As we move to focus on this mission, we’re excited to pass on all of our afterschool, spring, summer, and independent learning programs to Code Naturally Academy. A Santa Cruz-based organization lead by a long-time local Educator – Mackenzie Baughman. Mackenzie has several years of experience in managing a variety of STEM and STEAM programs across the Bay Area. She holds a bachelor’s degree in History from the University of California, Santa Cruz and is the perfect embodiment of interdisciplinary education.
You can learn more about Code Naturally Academy and the offered programs for 2019-2020 by clicking here.
If you’re a teacher that’d like to learn about bring codenaturally into their classroom, get in touch! We’d love to help. 🙂
We’re always looking for new ways to improve our site and learn more about how we can best serve educators and students around the world. Just send us a message and we’ll get back to you on as soon as we can.
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