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What is the role of the Teacher in Residence?

August 22, 2012

betaclassroom

codeHS

While some think that my role as Teacher in Residence is to keep these companies “inline”, this is far from the truth.  As a Title 1 Teacher, my objective is to celebrate their rock star moves and inform them of the opportunities they have to be heroes. I keep them informed of the hard challenges that John F. Kennedy spoke of fifty years ago. I am the one who will consistently tell them to go beyond the bubble and do what is necessary to make their solution shine brightly in even the most underserved classroom. While this doesn’t explain everything I do when I’m working with the teams, it does give you a metaphoric insight into my favorite part of this experience.

Lab Report: Teacher in Residence Shapes Development of CodeHS:

The boyz behind CodeHS are awesome enough to make unicorns swoon!

I met Jeremy Keeshin and Zach Galant the day before he gave his first practice pitch in preparation for imagine K12’s educator demo. day. When I first saw their tag line, “The best way to learn computer science online”, I figured there was little input I could offer to help their program get any better than it already was.

Like any first draft, the first version of their presentation was missing some key elements. I was focused on the  fact that they weren’t offering obvious reasons and ways to incorporate the program into the k-12 classroom, the entrepreneurs figured interested educators and administrators would find their own way to bring it into their classrooms and schools. If they didn’t, then they assumed that students who wished to use the program would access it at home. Until the point when every child has access to high speed internet at home, this assumption actually poses a threat of widening the digital divide

After their presentation, I cautiously approached the team to tell them:

“You have built an extraordinary program, but my kids won’t get this if you don’t get it integrated into the school day. You are already rock star entrepreneurs, but my students need you to be heroes. If they don’t have internet access at home, than school is going to be the only place they can access CodeHS. Therefore you need to make the process of adopting your program* and bringing it into a school a celebration. You don’t have to be heroes, you’re already doing something exceptional. If, however, you’re courageous enough to take on this challenge I’ll be ready and excited to help.”

It didn’t take the graph they included in their presentation to convince me that technology matters. I know that its not just part of the common core, its a part of our lives and our students’ successful futures. This is what I loved so much about CodeHS. It will offer offer advantages to existing educational institutions and these advantages won’t compete with services that the school is already providing.

I am pleased to inform the reader that this story has a happy ending. CodeHS is currently strategizing the best way to make school adoption of the program feel like a party and hope to have made moves by the end of next month.

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3 Comments

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  1. August 22, 2012

    Thank you for pushing them in the direction of making it a part of the school day. Many of our teachers laughed yesterday when the trainer of another program said kids can access the program from home. Except that it’s so tragic that we shouldn’t be laughing. We should be working our butts off, just like you are.

  2. Gary Tsai #
    August 25, 2012

    The direct market to these users is difficult. It would great for a tech teacher to integrate this in his or his classroom. Did they at least offer classroom roster logins? Otherwise their market is to students who are already tech savvy, which, although great at twitter and Facebook, are not technically sound. Were they going along the lines of codecademy?

  3. September 19, 2012

    Robert–

    We are trying to make it a part of the school day. We are working with a few teachers to integrate it into the classrooms, and are also hoping some schools will choose to have it as an entire class or independent study.

    Gary–

    We are trying to cater to students who both are and are not tech savvy. You can get started with CodeHS with absolutely zero experience. We are going the opposite way of codecademy–we are focused on providing help from real people to the students, because we understand that the pain point is in debugging your code, and getting good feedback on your code.

    We want to work with any teachers and schools who are excited to bring this amazing subject to their students. We know this material isn’t available at most high schools, and are trying to make it as fun as possible, and extremely accessible.

    If you have any other comments, would love to hear at jkeesh@codehs.com

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