About the project
The goal of the Teaching Kids Programming (TKP) is to train middle school teachers so they can, integral to their school curriculum, engage and teach students ages 10-14 to program in the Java language using TKP courseware. TKP courseware has been designed for and tested with this key audience of middle school kids and to-date has been taught to over 4,000 students. Other than Teaching Kids Programming, there is currently no known scalable programming courseware for middle school children delivered through already existing public and private educational institutions.
How we help
Research has confirmed that middle school is the time when many students, especially girls, decide that they will not succeed in STEM subjects: “Gender differences in self-confidence in STEM subjects begin in middle school and increase in high school and college…. Although teenage girls are now using computers and the Internet at rates similar to their male peers, they are five times less likely to consider a technology-related career or plan on taking post-secondary technology classes.” AAUW report on gender
In 1984, 37% of all computer science graduates were women, but today that number is just 18%. In order to make an impact on the downward trend in the engagement of girls in computer programming, we must intervene before we lose this immense talent pool as they transition through the critical adolescent years in middle school.
The original vision of Teaching Kids Programming (TKP) was to inspire more kids, especially girls, to enter the world of computer programming. To facilitate this, the goal was to create an engaging full-year curriculum for both girls and boys which could prepare middle school kids to excel in AP Computer Science in high school and Computer Science in college. The curriculum provides core exercises to teach students one hour per week for a full school year and has been tested with over 4,000 students, taught by middle school and high school teachers, computer programmers volunteering in the classroom, college professors, camp counselors, technical trainers and the after-school staff of Boys & Girls Clubs. It is currently being piloted in select Texas and California middle schools.
TKP provides its courseware free-of-charge online and website usability and an easy download/installation process are of the utmost importance. To increase ease of use and attract more traffic, the TKP website had a front to back overhaul in 2014. Traffic did increase and new requests for training began to pour in. There was a dramatic increase in teacher usability. TKP is being used in 15 countries and 28 states per Google Analytics.
Since 2014, 17 states have changed their educational policy to recognize AP Computer Science as meeting math or science requirements counting towards graduation. However, teachers often feel they don’t have the resources or training to teach the courses. According to Deborah Seehom, chair of the Computer Science Teachers Association board, “There are very few places where teachers can get classes to teach them how to teach computer science.” TKP is in a unique position to provide high quality teacher trainer and courseware to fill this gap and make a difference in the early engagement of middle school kids, particularly girls, in computing related courseware before they form their negative views of STEM subjects in general and computing in particular.
TKP is being used in 15 countries and 28 states in the US reaching 4,000 students.
TKP Java courseware is code-complete with 60 units of courseware, for a full, 1-year course.
TKPJava courseware is being piloted in selectTexas and California middle school classrooms
2016 project goals
Add a second middle school pilot program in a Seattle school district.
Create TKPJava course teacher training videos
Offer Teaching Kids Programing in Boys and Girls clubs in two locations.