The First Bytes Society
Computer science education, wait no let me rephrase that, the "art of hacking" has changed my life. Not only has it provided me with great career opportunities, but it has also shaped the way that I think and the way that I express my "creative side". I want to pass my enthusiasm for tech on to the next generation of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs/Wozniaks, and Mark Zuckerbergs in a refreshing way.
For many people computers seem to have this mystical, magical aura about them, giving many people the misconception that only "nerds" or "straight A" grads can really harness their power. The First Bytes Society would work to break this myth by providing a learning place for students as young as middle schoolers to start to learn the art of hacking.
The First Bytes Society (FBS) will take a new approach to computer science. Instead of starting off in math or programming theory, FBS would focus more on engaging the students and above all things, teaching them them how to communicate with computers. The curriculum will also focus on producing tangible results – real programs that can easily be shared with their peers in and outside of the classroom. What motivates good programmers-in-training is not the money or future career opportunities, instead, it is the pride that one has when seeing something they've created go out into the wild and be used by other people. This also has a domino effect – if a 6th grader sees a game that his/her peer just created, they will believe that programming is something they too can achieve. This "engage first" approach is something that organizations like Code Academy (http://codecademy.com) have already started to have success with.
FBS would target students between 5th and 9th grade. It would encourage diversity, targeting groups that are typically underrepresented in Computer Science.
Funded by Pittsburgh, PA (June 2012)