Fewer than half of Washington's schools teach computer programming classes, according to Code.org.
Microsoft is trying to bridge the digital divide that often leaves low-income students behind. Microsoft Philanthropies is rolling out a new computer science curriculum to Boys and Girls Clubs nationwide, named CS Pathways. The company said the goal is to teach coding, computational thinking, game design and app development in clubs.
“We really want to make sure that everyone has access to learn and create technology, and to be honest, that isn’t equal,” said Andrea Lattanner, a program manager for Microsoft Philanthropies.
Eighty-five percent of the students at the Rotary Boys and Girls Club location in Seattle’s Central District rely on free or reduced lunches while at school.
“They don’t have the same opportunities that other people have,” said Lattanner.
Fourth-graders Jackson and Gabby are two of the program’s first students. The club asked us not to use the kids’ name to protect their identities.
“Starting to make an app is actually pretty cool,” said Gabby, 9. “I didn’t know what to do. Well, once I got the hang of it, it turned out to be easy.”
The adults said the process of letting the students add up points make it seem like sneaking vegetables into kids’ dinners.
“It almost is like a game the way the classes are set up,” said Lisa Chin, president and CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of King County.