Editor's Note: Welcome our first high school intern* Nickesha who has been helping us review our curriculum. She is a senior with an interest in medicine. This is her first time learning to code!
Working with CoderDojo has been a learning experience. I’m a high school student that goes to a technology based school. You're probably thinking, oh this should be easy for you, but it's focused in technology, but they don't teach us how to code in class.
Ricky, one of the organizers of the program, exposed me to a variety of code in the first three weeks I've been working with them. So far I've touched upon HTML, Scratch, circuits such as littleBits and created circuits in order to execute various tasks on breadboards. Currently, I’m learning Python so I can write some games.
Learning to Code
For anyone who want to learn how to code, especially at a young age, this is the place to be. Your mentors will take their time with you and make sure you understand how the code works. The only way to learn is through trial and error. I've had my share of frustrations when I was trying to figure out what went wrong with my code. HTML was not trivial for me, but I've been especially frustrated with Python. When I was working on a cash register program, I had difficultly finding a way to support multiple quantity for items.
Even though you might not be interested in coding, there are other things you could work with. Using the LEDs, resistors, breadboards and batteries, I build my own flashlight with the ability to adjust the brightness with a slide of a switch.
littleBits is a bunch of tiny magnetic circuits that snaps together each with their own individual function. As I was playing with them, I noticed that each piece had arrows showing you which direction the current was going. Since the pieces are magnets, there is resistance when the pieces don't fit together with the particular piece you're trying to connect it with.
Working with HTML was a lot of fun. When Ricky introduced me to the program I thought that it wouldn't be interesting at all because I ran into a lot of bumps with absolutely no idea how to fix them. Though I struggled with HTML in the beginning, Ricky helped me to notice what I did wrong and let me find the answers on my own with some guidance.
You may think you’ll have to be given the answer because of the never ending frustration, but the feeling of figuring it out on your own is such a rewarding experience. Eventually you get the hang of it and you now can create your own websites with ease, link them together and even make games with it.
You may think you’ll have to be given the answer because of the never ending frustration, but the feeling of figuring it out on your own is such a rewarding experience.
Since working with CoderDojo I got to play around with different types of programming languages. Because of that, I've realized that programming may be something that I would like to incorporate into my medical career in the future.
I've really enjoyed programming in Python. I love that it's so challenging and complex. The feeling of knowing that someone out there programmed the game that you're playing right now or even your cellphone's operating system that you love so much is pretty amazing. Armed with that knowledge you can just do about anything. I feel that coding is a talent that anyone can learn and a skill that is prized especially if you're a female; CoderDojo is a place to start at.
* = paid through her school/local department of education