LA Makerspace co-founder Tara Tiger Brown shares a project that her kid-friendly maker workshop is trying to make a reality.
The big idea: teach economically underprivileged kids in Los Angeles how to code, using Minecraft. Tech education is a powerful tool for kids who come from poor, marginalized urban populations. Vote for their project right here, right now, if you agree with me that this needs to happen.
Here's the story, from Tara:
LA Makerspace and Connected Camps want to offer free coding workshops leveraging Minecraft, the wildly popular computer game, to teach kids to build, design, and code.
Open source, free, and tailored to after-school educators, the workshops will enable people in underserved communities all over Los Angeles to use Minecraft to develop science-technology-engineering-art-math (STEAM) skills in youth.
Minecraft coding workshops enable students to learn basic programming concepts, such as loops and functions. These workshops move students beyond coding syntax and get them learning how code robust, unique programs to solve complex problems.
These skills are increasingly in demand in today's workforce and are predicted to be even more in demand in the coming years. Forecasts estimate that by 2020, employment in all computer occupations is expected to increase by 22%, and demand for software developers specifically will be the strongest of the occupations with increases ranging from 28% to 32%.
The workshops would provide kids access to more than just the software. The LA Makerspace will provide mentors that kids identify with, and projects that engage their interests. Research shows that combining these increases engagement. Beyond gaming, students who meet regularly with mentors are 52% less likely to skip a day of school and 37% less likely to skip a class. The hope is that by helping kids develop positive attitudes toward learning, there will be a reduction in absentee rates in Los Angeles classrooms.
Not only will these workshops help make LA the best place to learn, it will provide kids in Los Angeles an opportunity to learn STEAM skills that they need for the future in a fun and engaging way.
In order to give kids in Los Angeles the opportunity to learn how to code, the LA Makerspace needs your vote here.
Thanks for helping kids learn how to code!
Voting Ends TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 03 at 12:00 PM PST.
[Photos and screenshots in this post are from previous Minecraft coding workshops held by LA Makerspace and Connected Camps]