Day 1 of #Warriorcode – Lessons Learned

This year, our high school library is celebrating Teen Tech Week. As our premiere event for the week, we wanted to do a hackathon of sorts. And, that’s where our journey began.

From the beginning, we decided to have students source the logos, banners, and name. So, we consulted our graphic design classes and tasked them with developing logos, banners, and names. Within two days, we had a name, a logo, and a flyer to begin promoting the event. We created Google Forms for volunteers, student registrations, and teacher-sourced problems.

However, we quickly realized we had an issue – we weren’t getting student registrants and the teacher-sourced problems were not problems beginners could solve – the same beginners who still needed to learn the fundamentals of code (HTML, CSS, Java, etc.). And, with two librarians and myself (all who only had a vague familiarity with code), we grew nervous.

So, we began recruiting. We already had four volunteers, but that was moot if we did not have students. We realized that students did not check their school email accounts for a variety of reasons. Therefore, they did not get those notices. And, despite the colorful student posters, students did not pick up on wall-hangings. We took the announcement to our journalism crew and they wrote it up and tweeted about it. Each time, we earned about one more student. However, we only ended up with approximately ten kids in a school of 2600 students. Frustration high, we did not know what to do.

As a co-organizer of EdTech Austin, I decided to send a Facebook post about it to our member base while another organizer sent it out via our Website and listserve. Within the day, we had a bite – a call from Makersquare in Austin, Texas.  Makersquare not only gave us ideas, but agreed to come in and work with our students to teach them code. Though this changed the original idea of having students solve problems, it gave our students the chance to make connections and actually learn code – our main goal.

Questions for the future:
How do we get more kids interested? This seems to be the most important question.

Stay tuned for updates as we continue our #warriorcode event.

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