26 2 / 2014
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05 10 / 2013
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28 8 / 2013
"In 50 years we won’t use the term tech inclusion anymore, because it will be outdated. And we won’t be worried about basic coding skills because everyone, including women and underrepresented minorities, will have them. We’ll all be focused on those more important problems we need to solve and we’ll be using our tech skills to solve them."
Theresa Freet, CodeMontage Project Partnerships Manager
White House Tech Inclusion Champions of Change Summit, July 31, 2013
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27 8 / 2013
The Next Generation of Creators in Tech
Growing up we aren’t given many choices. We’re told what to wear, to say please and thanks, that two plus two equals four. Later in life we spend so much time trying to figure out how to re-ignite that spark that’s dimmed, to have that fire that keeps you up at night. For me, the stick was the idea of helping people and the stone was technology.
The fire didn’t begin until I realized the full potential of technology, but it wasn’t the technical know-how…it was the people who believed in me and pushed me to learn more and those who still do. My journey began when people invested in me, as a 14 year old girl at MIT’s iD Tech Camps, an early chance to explore my passions. And later to teach there to help other youth find theirs. But a summer camp wasn’t enough, though the open learning environment stuck with me as I joined Do Something as a developer. Jumpstarting my career early in 2011 allowed me to be a part of a platform that leads youth to real offline action, not just in spirit but in measurable data, not just tens of thousands, but millions of teens across the US. Out of Do Something, CoderDojo NYC began as a side volunteer project, organizing mentors and youth for monthly sessions for web, game and app development; today it’s so much more. We’re proud to showcase the idea behind inclusion, with ethnic diversity and a 50:50 gender ratio of young men and women learning together.
There’s a 9 year old girl who we affectionately call “Little Rebecca” who attends CoderDojo NYC. She’s been with us since the beginning, and we’ve had the chance to see her grow. Her parents told us before attending she had never heard of computer science, and after a few months she had asked them “is this something you can do for a living?” This year she made her first Android app, and presented it in front of industry professionals. My favorite thing though, isn’t her accomplishments, but hearing the excuses when she can’t attend, “sorry she’s at space camp” and “she is building her first robot for a science fair”. I knew that if I could positively impact one girls’ life—imagine what that meant bringing together others across the globe.
Joining the Hello World Foundation means helping bring together 200 CoderDojo chapters in 23 countries, not as training schools for youth but as places that serve to inspire and help the next generation become even better dreamers, thinkers and builders through technology. After starting in Ireland, it’s spread like wildfire. The idea of open STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) coding clubs for youth everywhere from Mexico, Japan, Slovenia, Scotland and anywhere in between. They’re led by volunteers who mentor, who don’t just teach, they inspire.
We’re here on this planet to make meaningful connections, and they are worth more than any monetary donation. Worth more than a ‘handout’, or being treated differently as a ‘hand-up’—we want ‘handshakes’, to be included. Some say there are limiting factors, whether it’s the economy, wars, or political turmoil. I say that this gives us opportunities, especially for young people, to be creative, to innovate and solve these issues with the help of technology in faster and smarter ways. Our digital footprint has more impact now than ever, and a line of code can be a catalyst for social change.
I currently work at the Hello World Foundation an Irish non-profit that aims to inspire the next generation of creators through technology.
This blog was written by Rebecca Garcia, an organizer at Developers for Good and CoderDojo NYC Co-founder, and originally posted by the White House Champions of Change Blog. You can see the original post here.
23 7 / 2013
July Meetup: Seeds Uses Gaming To Spur International Development
Last Tuesday, Developers for Good met at ThoughtWorks to learn about Seeds. Seeds is a company founded by Rachel Cook that seeks to leverage all the hours people spend gaming into a microlending effort that supports development in East Africa. According to Rachel, 300 billion people around the world live at or below the poverty line, on $2 a day. Another statistic for 300 billion? The number of hours a week are spent on online gaming. Seeds aims to leverage those hours by working with gaming companies to create opportunities for users to buy features inside their games, and use that money for microloans to entrepreneurs in developing countries in Africa.
28 5 / 2013
Organization Spotlight: John from EDesign Labs
Meet John Derian, a science teacher at the Brooklyn International High School, who’s collaborating with EDesign Lab.
What is your organization’s mission:
“The EDesign Lab is a collaboration between educators, technologists, and designers to co-imagine and prototype real examples of what interactive digital learning can look like to improve student engagement, motivation, and success.”
What inspires you about your organization:
I’m inspired by the EDesign Lab itself. In the lab, we start with an idea and end with a student tested digital learning tool designed to increase student achievement, understanding, and engagement. The process by which we get there I find very inspiring as well. The other teachers and technologists in the program are truly amazing. There is a great flow of ideas and constructive thought that goes into the development of the different projects. The collaborative atmosphere that has been created is a lot of fun to be a part of, and the work we do with student learning in mind is personally very fulfilling.
What projects can developers help with:
Two projects that I’ve been involved with where developers can help are “Overpass” and “Because.” “Overpass” was designed to help students develop their argumentations skills. In a game-based environment, students identify text evidence to the parts of an argument they are connected to. Teachers can add their own content to personalize the program to their own class.
“Because” is a collaborative data visualization program that is powered through Google Drive, which allows students to attach causation events to different parts of a graph. The program allows students or teachers to create a graph by inserting a data set. Pictures of graphs can also be uploaded without entering a data set. Students collaborate together to add events or attach premade events to the parts of the graph they believe caused the graph to move the way it did. “Because” can be used in other ways as well. Students can upload their own grade data and reflect on their learning over the course of the year. Also, because the program allows users to upload pictures and attach events, the pictures don’t have to be graphs. Any picture can be uploaded and have events and hyperlinks attached. There is a lot of flexibility for use built into the basic design of the program.
Impact your projects will have on the organization and the world:
When we design our projects, we focus on specific learning outcomes or address specific issues with student learning. For example, high school students have a hard time interpreting graphs. The program “Because” was designed specifically to help students develop skills regarding how they look at and interpret graphs. Since teachers are involved in the development of the different projects, we are able to bring in and address real classroom issues.
Favorite Ice Cream:
Salted Crack Caramel from Ample Hills Creamery
03 3 / 2013
Organization Spotlight: Rosann of Reproductive Health Access Project
Meet Rosann Mariappuram, Program & Administrative Associate at Reproductive Health Access Project.
RHAP Mission: The Reproductive Health Access Project (RHAP) seeks to ensure that women and teens at every socioeconomic level can readily obtain birth control and abortion from their own primary care clinician. Through training, advocacy and mentoring programs, RHAP helps family physicians and other clinicians make birth control and abortion a part of routine medical care.
What inspires Rosann about RHAP: I love that RHAP is so patient-centered. There are a multitude of myths out there about birth control that end up creating barriers for women. For example, some clinicians only provide 3 months worth of contraception at a time and then ask patients to come back to the office whenever they need a refill. But evidence shows that if you give a woman a 12 month supply of birth control it will make it easier for her to consistently use contraception and decrease her risk of an unintended pregnancy. I’m so proud that RHAP is out there providing this type of information - it can make such a big impact!
What Developers can help with:
SEO Optimization - RHAP has developed a wealth of clinical tools and patient educational fact sheets that are available for free on our website. Our resources are used all over the world and many have been translated into multiple languages, including English, Spanish, Korean, Creole, Portuguese, and Chinese. We’d love to do SEO Optimization on our website so our resources are easier to find in common search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing.
Online platform for the RHAP Network - One of RHAP’s main projects is our Network - a group of over 450+ primary care clinicians across the U.S. who are working to integrate contraception and abortion into their practice. We offer guidance and technical support to these clinicians as well as create a pro-choice community for them to rely upon. Right now, our main method of staying in touch with Network members is via email, phone and e-newsletters. We’d like to create an online platform for our Network, where members could log in to a website that lets them track their progress integrating different reproductive health services.
For example: if a nurse practitioner in Oregon wants to offer IUDs at her clinic, we’d have a check list of steps she needs to take. She could tick off each step as she goes, email RHAP via the online portal if she has problems. Once she finishes all her steps we’d be able to add her to a map of clinicians across the US who are offering IUDs. Clearly, this is a big project and we’re just in the planning stage. But we’d love to get the input of a developer who could help us write up a formal proposal for this project, and help us understand what specific programming needs & costs it would include.
Impact these projects will have on RHAP and the world: Our website is already a huge resource for clinicians around the world on how to provide contraception, abortion care, and manage early pregnancy loss. By improving our website’s SEO we will make it an even more powerful, more accessible hub of information for clinicians and the patients they care for.
Our Network project is the heart of our national organizing efforts. By creating an online portal for the Network we will be able to connect and support family medicine practitioners across U.S. like never before. Some of the clinicians in our Network are the only pro-choice voice in their town/city/state. Having an online portal/forum will both give them the medical resources they need and offer them professional support so they can be a change maker in their community.