Describe the existing technical student communities on your campus. Who is served? Where are there gaps?
We currently have 4 tiers of student community at our school.
- The first tier comprises beginner programmers who are learning the basics and are ultimately able to build a simple game of their own design.
- The second tier, builds on those basic coding skills, adding the computer science knowledge that allows them to be prepared for the College Board AP Computer Science A exam (it is not required for them to take the exam).
- In the third tier, students learn how to collaborate to build a joint project. It is at this point in the program, we introduce the concepts surrounding pull requests and merge conflict resolution. One of our biggest challenges is identifying meaningful projects with scope that is within the students' capabilities, and finding experienced project leaders to manage them.
- Finally, the fourth tier offers "electives" that include Oracle Java certification, preparation for coding interviews , AP test preparation, introduction to other programming languages, platforms, and development environments, etc.
Choose one GitHub Education program. How could it support your on-campus student communities?
We teach a sequence of levels of progression through a Java programming skill set, and each level is broken down into learning modules. We have chosen GitHub Classroom to package assignments that correlate to each of these learning modules. Once an entire level has been completed by a student, they can move their repos from our Organization to their own GitHub and use it as a reference for their future coding assignments.
What would you need to do in order to support the growth of student tech communities on campus?
Many of our students are very interested in securing internships before they finish high school. To this end, we continually strive to build more connections between our school and the tech workplace. We have just started an EdTech meetup to help explore various topics at the intersection of education and technology, learn about the latest technologies that are supporting teachers, and hear from teachers and IT administrators about solving current issues in education. We also include classes run by volunteer teachers who are employed in a tech field, and who share their professional insights with students. I love the idea of a “Campus Expert” type of program for our older high school students (16-18).