According to the US Department of Labor, in 2020, there will be an estimated 1.4 million computer specialist job openings. Unfortunately, U.S. universities are expected produce only enough qualified graduates to fill 29% of these jobs. An enthusiasm for programming and computer science must be cultivated at an early age in order to combat this trend.
Enter Code Caravan! Code Caravan is an educational outreach program staffed by IB STEM students that aims to instill an enthusiasm for programming in Tallahassee's 16,693 elementary school students. Developed under the mentorship of Samantha Vance, founder of the 501(c) non-profit organization Ladies Learning to Lead, Code Caravan seeks to bring hour-long, mobile coding workshops to local elementary schools utilizing the Ozobot Bit. The Ozobot Bit is the world’s smallest smart robot. This programmable bot builds both creativity and coding skills in ages 6 and up, and provides opportunities for young programmers to advance from basic color coding to intermediate block-based programming with Bit. Basically a dome on two wheels, the Ozobots use optical sensors to follow colored paths either on paper or on an iPad. At its simplest, the Ozobot follows a black path wherever it goes. By adding a variety of color codes to the path, students can make the Ozobot perform a variety of different actions, from making a left or right turn to performing a tornado spin. By combining various codes and paths, these little bots can be programmed to perform complex actions.
Code Caravan utilizes the Ozobot to introduce students to sequential thinking, logical reasoning and coding concepts that will enable children from all walks of life to succeed in the digital age. Ozobots come with comprehensive hour long lesson plans and activities correlated to Florida's Sunshine State Standards. Code Caravan believes that through exposure to the Ozobot curriculum, elementary school science classes will be enriched and students will be inspired.
Funded by Tallahassee, FL (March 2017)