By Bret Piatt
Apr 3, 2018
This past Saturday, March 31, episode 79 of Cyber Talk Radio hit the air on 1200 WOAI and iHeartRadio streaming. I was joined by Debi Pfitzenmaier to discuss teaching kids how to code and getting them excited about technology.
It was great to welcome Debi back to Cyber Talk Radio as we first had her on the show in March of last year! In late February, Youth Code Jam participated in Philanthropitch, which is an event that is a lot like Shark Tank for nonprofits. Debi and Youth Code Jam walked away from the pitch night with $50,000 in donations. The event as a whole awarded over $100,000! So, if you didn’t hear there previous episode or attend Philanthropitch, we go over a few of the basics… What does Youth Code Jam do? How does Youth Code Jam teach kids how to code? One fun, interactive website Debi teased up was playcodemonkey.com. It is simple and easy-to-use. Did you know that only between 3-8 percent of high school students have taken a computer programming class? We need to raise that number through encouraging kids to participate in Youth Code Jam and other learning events. There are summer camps for kids from 2nd grade all the way up through the high school level. Debi highlighted that the funding from Philanthropitch will be used to scale the organization and programs offered. Teacher professional development is also a major part of what Youth Code Jam does. This year, they had 30 teachers in their cohort to certify them how to teach computer science at their schools. There are more resources to teach kids to code on the Youth Code Jam website.
Over the last year, Youth Code Jam has doubled in size year, which is an excellent accomplishment! It’s made possible by all of the volunteers and businesses that help provide funding such as Jungle Disk, Google Fiber, 80/20 Foundation and Rackspace. As Youth Code Jam scales, they need more volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering, please sign up via their website here. A great student success stories that Debi shared with us was about a neuro diverse 12 year-old boy playing with Finch Robots with another student at a Low Sensory Jam, events specifically held for neuro diverse kids. Another fun stat is that 30 percent of Youth Code Jam volunteers are high school and college students. What do kids need now to learn to code? All you really need is a tablet device and access to the Internet. All of the Code Jams are free of charge so that money is not a barrier for kids to learn programming. Youth Code Jam also focuses on making sure kids have what they need to ensure they can accomplish what they want to do and are able to learn computer literacy. Startup Week and VIA Codeathons are a few other local entrepreneurial events happening in San Antonio area to encourage the growth of tech talent in the community. Learn more about Youth Code Jam and their educational programs by listening to the full episode replay available here!**
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