This past week, I decided to help out with the after school program for CodeStream Studios – where I also help out with some of the documentation they require for their curriculum time to time. I used to teach last year and came to realize that many students do not have access to a computer within their household.
I think it’s a common assumption that everyone owns either a laptop or a desktop machine in their home. It is a common reality, especially among most of these students, that they don’t own any machine as such. Many students have a phone and that’s where most of their interaction with a keyboard is. According to this article, [Pew Research Article – Yes, it’s old I know, but it’s still facts] there are in fact 25 million households in the United States that do not have regular internet access, let alone have a computer in their household. Now-a-days it seems ordinary to have access to the internet and to use a computer within the comforts of your own home.
Let me make one thing clear – If you are among those who do have internet access and a computer of some sort within your household, consider your self grateful!
So…what about the students who don’t have access to a computer in their household?
Well, they rely on school computers and go to the library to use a computer which is surprisingly what most of us did back before computers were in every household (for me that would be the early 90s). Even while in college, I recall peers going to the library to complete papers or complete homework assignments. Recently, my niece accidentally threw away a 4 page magazine article that was given to her by her teacher to complete her homework assignment – She was absolutely devastated. I, on the other hand, furrowed my eyebrows at her reaction and told her ‘Don’t worry, everything is online, I’ll find it for you’. Within minutes, I found the same article written online and she was overjoyed. Later on, my sister called to my attention that some students depend on that 4 page magazine article in order to complete their homework since they don’t have access to a computer at home and aren’t able to look things up in a blink of an eye. I immediately understood why my niece felt the way she did – She does have access to a computer and internet however, she doesn’t fully understand how she can use it to find information online. With that being said, put yourself in her shoes for second (with the understanding that you make good grades and try to follow most of the directions when given) – Imagine realizing you misplaced the article you needed to get your homework completed. Full panic sets in as you realize you won’t be able to complete your assignment and will ultimately receive a grade that you aren’t proud of.
Keep in mind that some may not have access to the same resources as you do and be sensitive to it. If you do have an old laptop that is still performing relatively well – consider letting someone else have it to own.
Many people stay in the comfort area of coding when they first start out – They learn HTML and CSS, which is absolutely okay HOWEVER, don’t stay there longer than needed. It’s important that once you grasp a concept that you move on to another concept that’s more challenging than the next and add it to the things you already know.
Let’s say you do know HTML and CSS and have built a basic website with it – Awesome work btw! A friend approaches you to build them a website and host it for them. This would be considered a challenge for you because you haven’t hosted a website before. Consider that your golden opportunity to take on a new challenge and potentially fail at it. Hey, Rome wasn’t built in a day, you can’t learn everything at once. This is why you should take on new challenges with the expectation of growth, be positive about the unknown things. Back to my example – You may fail at the first attempt of hosting your friends’ website BUT you tried your best and didn’t give up, consider that a big win! Take advantage of the wealth of information on the web to help you succeed the next time. Eventually, you will end up with a win as long as you keep trying.
With the New Year coming around there always seems to be an increase in those that want to learn how to code – Which I think it’s awesome! However, don’t just learn to code because it’s the ‘In thing to do’ (Read more about that here: http://www.blog.tthompson899.net/2017/06/02/coding-is-easy-everyones-doing-it-why-do-you-want-to-learn-to-code/
). At any rate, I decided to make a list of ways one can teach themselves to code. This may come off as a surprise to some who think that I only learned to code at a bootcamp, in fact, my story is a bit unique in that I also took Computer Science classes in college as well as did some self teaching in between college and the boot camp (a span of 5 years).
I recommend using a mix of FreeCodeCamp, youtube videos and tutorials online. When doing tutorials online, I’d start at a website for a language and going through the set up process and then go to the tutorial on the website. Follow along then do the tutorial again or an idea that you came up with and do it without looking at the directions. After that keep adding to your skillset by viewing more tutorials and creating something that you want like a website or a web application.
Check out the video below to view my video on youtube.