Students teach kids simple programming

Ethan Gruman ’15 and David Woldenberg ’15 organized a free programming workshop in the student lounge March 22 to teach children ages 8 to 12 how to create simple computer programs. About 35 students attended the workshop.

“The class [consisted] of an instructor teaching the kids to create a simple breakout or brick breaker game, and HW volunteers walking around the room both to assist the students with program problems and to help the explore more advanced concepts,” Gruman said. “Afterwards, students [had] a chance to add something unique to their project or start their own.”

The instructors were Jen Ellis from USC’s Innovation Lab and Shara Karasic from Communik8, Gruman said. Math teacher Jason Fieldman attended as a faculty supervisor.

Along with Gruman and Woldenberg, volunteers included Zoe Bohn ’14, William Burford ’16, Jack Graham ’15, Jonathan Heckerman ’15, Melanie Krassel ’15, Benjamin Most ’16, Nadine Perez ’14 and David Weitz ’15.

“I had originally come up with the idea to teach kids programming at a young age to get them inspired about computer science,” Gruman said. “I found [Woldenberg] as a partner, and we discovered and got in touch with Coder Dojo,” a nonprofit organization.

The workshop is part of a plan to bring more interest to the computer science field, Gruman said.  He and Woldenberg pitched the idea of teaching kids in lower income neighborhoods how to code to USC Innovation Lab’s Idea Pitch competition March 7. They won the competition and received a trophy and a $500 check.

As current vice president and president-to-be of the Computer Science Club, Gruman intends to engage club members to go to a neighborhood school to teach younger kids how to code. He hopes to finalize details over the summer that will include making this teaching commitment count towards participants’ annual community service.

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