For part of our Africa Code Week participation, we wanted to provide some opportunities for children other than our students to learn some programming skills. ICS students have many opportunities to learn programming skills: in classes, in after-school activities, on our robotics team and in various events we run through the year. Students in local schools don’t get the same kinds of opportunities.
Leulseged Assefa, our MS Computer Science teacher, decided to host a session on a Saturday morning for children of our school’s support staff. It was hugely popular: the session filled quickly and staff who missed the cut-off asked for additional sessions to be held! We had nearly 30 children, from ages 11 to 17, spend several hours on a Saturday morning learning to build games and animations using Scratch. A few ICS students helped out, answering questions and making suggestions.
The children were all excited to be learning new skills and using new tools, and many asked if they could come back the next Saturday! We’re working on plans to make this a regular outreach for the children of our support staff. We’d love to see Ethiopia’s answer to Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg come out of this group of enthusiastic children!