We’ve had an amazing 2015 year with increased enrollment and interest of our female learners. Our goals for the new calendar year are to continue to expose more students to Computer Science by launching our Computer Science Continuous Learning program: continue to expand our instructional sites throughout the Bay Area and start offering professional development to help school districts offer computer science education.
As founder and CEO of Code For Fun, I am invested in creating a sustainable nationwide K-12 computer science program. I am dedicated to spreading programming knowledge to young people as early in their academic careers as possible. Children today are digital natives. Code For Fun provides a fun and innovative approach using tools such as YouTube and live-stream to adapt to the dynamic learning environment.
My calling to teach coding to children began in India. I saw the effect programming made on disadvantaged students and that’s what sparked the creation of Code For Fun. After I left Facebook, I continued to teach Bootstrap, a program that is used to make video games by using algebra and computer science. Learning to program and the computer science field teach both technical and transferrable skills to every student.
Every student should have a basic level of programming literacy, as it is a necessity living in the 21st century. Transferrable skills such as general problem solving can be applied to anyone and in any career field. I truly believe that exposing computer science and programming to children at the earlier in their academic career, they will have a better chance of continuing to pick their interest in these fields. And I am delighted that President Obama just launched a new initiative: Computer Science for All to empower all American students from kindergarten through high school to learn computer science and be equipped with the computational thinking skills they need to be creators in the digital economy, not just consumers, and to be active citizens in our technology-driven world
Code For Fun is a non-profit organization, located in the San Francisco Bay Area, committed to exposing all students to computer programming at an early age to help grow the next generation of engineers. We offer after school programs and camps throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. As a leader in computer science education for young learners, our programs are especially designed to empower and encourage girls to pursue academic and career paths in the engineering field.
Computer science engages all students, at all academic level. Exposing students at an earlier age to programming increases their chances by 30% to continue on in this academic field thus increasing the number of candidates into a computer science profession. Code For Fun programs are designed to address the five areas of study as set forth by the Computer Science Teaching Association (CSTA): Computational Thinking, Collaboration, Computing Practice and Programming, Computers and Communication Devices, Community, and Global and Ethical Impacts. Introducing students to all concept areas within computer science at an earlier age will enable them to fully prepare themselves to embrace the technological innovations of the 21st century and thrive in its economy.
As of end of December 2015, Code for fun enrolled a total of 1356 students, 649 girls and 707 boys, in programs offered at our various locations. The top three enrollment locations are Fremont (25%), Mountain View (18%), Menlo Park (17%). Code for fun students age ranges from 6 years to 14 years old.
Code for fun strives for an inclusive classroom of diverse students. Our 2015 after school program currently boasts a 5% increase of female students; rapidly closing in on the gender gap of male to female classroom ratios. Our female computer science learners on average spent 10.43 hours in the classroom and the male students spent an average of 10.34 hours. This shows that the interest of both our male and female students are growing almost equally. Our goal is to sustain this growth for all of our students.
Program and Events
Code for fun provides instruction for seven curricula in their after school programs. We measure the amount of instruction for a particular curriculum by number of hours instructed by the number of students. This helps project a figure that encompasses both the size of the classroom and the length of a program for a certain curriculum. In 2015, our afterschool programs and camps offered 8 different curriculums an increase of 6 new curriculums from 2014.
Added in September 2015 to our list of after-school program offerings, this class is targeting Kindergarten to 2nd grade students. Rather than focusing on computer literacy with students who are not yet used to typing on a keyboard or using a mouse, we teach them algorithm and sequential programming using a simple robot with only 4 instructions. The robot moves on a mat where different challenges can be created. This class also covers the history of computers and help students build a technology timeline.
Introduction to the Magical World of Computers
Using the K-8 Introduction to Computer Science puzzles from Code.org, this class is designed for students 7 to 10 years old. Using blocks in their development interface, they can drag instructions to solve puzzles. By the end of the class, they have covered the following concepts: sequence of actions, loops, conditional, functions. Unplugged activities are used to teach binary code and introduce the concept of a function.
Game Design and Storytelling from Scratch
This class offers an introduction to Scratch (scratch.mit.edu), a block programming language and helps students learn how to create games and stories to master some fundamental concepts. Unplugged activities are covering a lesson on the Internet and how it is working, a lesson on Hardware and a lesson on searching Algorithms. This class is offered to students 8 to 12 years old.
More advanced concepts on Scratch and programming are covered in this class (functions, data variable, lists, strings). It is a natural progression from Game Design from Scratch.
Product Design Using Crafting and Coding
Offered during a weekly camp, this program invites students to think about the design of a product around a crafting activity that varies everyday. In the second part of the day, they program using Scratch to enhance their product. The camp also included a session on women in technology where students get to present their hero.This program is designed specifically for girls. It is Code for Fun’s way of building entrepreneurship and design skills with young creative women.
Bootstrap applies mathematical concepts and rigorous programming principles to creating a simple videogame, and is aligned to Common Core Standards for Mathematics (www.bootstrapworld.org). Bootstrap is designed for students in 7th and 8th grade. At Code for fun, we have been able to teach it as early as in 5th grade.
Bootstrap goes deeper into programming, building events and data structures on top of the foundation laid by Bootstrap:1 and allowing students to build far more sophisticated programs.
Introduction to Python
This class is designed for motivated children with little experience with programming. Students learn the basic concepts of Python and create games designed to stretch their brain and strengthen their understanding. They also program a game using Python.
Our students spent a total of 10,939 hours in instruction in 2015 in after school programs and camps. Students interest in Game Design and Intro to CS was at 24%, followed by Bootstrap 1 at 21% interest, Product Design with crafting and Coding at 16.6%. We continue to strive to increase interest in all of our programs by increasing our free offering of instruction and promotional classes to the public.
Additionally, we are directly teaching at private school during the year grades K-8 since September 2015 where every K – 5th grade student receives 1 hour of technology instruction per week and 6th to 8th grade receives 2 hours per week
Our programs are offered throughout the greater Bay Area. The communities we serve are Belle Haven, Carden Academy, Carolyn Clark Elementary, Columbia Neighborhood Community, Fremont Library, Fremont Recreation Center, Golden Oak Montessori, ISTP, Los Gatos High School, Mountain View Recreation Center, Newark Library, Santa Clara Library, Saratoga Elementary, Union City Library, Weibel Elementary.
Free Instruction Programs
Out of the 14,000 hours of instructions given to all students, 36% was free of charge in 2015. We offered free camps in the following locations:
- Fremont Library
- Newark Library
- Union City Library
- Belle Haven School (Menlo Park, CA)
- Golden Oak Montessori (Castro Valley, CA)
- Columbia Neighborhood Community (Sunnyvale, CA)
- Santa Clara Library
We have now partnered with 2 schools to offer Computer Science instruction during the school: in 2014-2015 we taught Bootstrap (www.bootstrapworld.org) at Golden Oak Montessori in Castro Valley to all 7th and 8th graders. This was offered for free as we wanted to spread this program increasingly.
During the summer 2015, Code for fun offered 3 camps free of charge to Ravenswood School district students. Each camp was 2 weeks long and included a field trip, free food and snacks.
- June 22-July 2, 8:30-3:00 - Introduction to Computer Science and Game Design using Scratch - Belle Haven, Menlo Park (Ravenswood School District) - Age: 7 to 10 yrs. / Field Trip: Computer Science Museum in Sunnyvale
- July 6 - July 17, 8:30-3:00 - Product Design using Crafting and Coding and Game Design from Scratch - Belle Haven, Menlo Park (Ravenswood School District) - Age: 7 to 10 yrs. Girls only / Field Trip: Scanadu on the NASA campus and NASA AMES Research Center
- July 20 - July 31st, 8:30-3:00 - Bootstrap - Belle Haven, Menlo Park (Ravenswood School District) - Age: 12 to 15 yrs / Field Trip: Facebook
More information about our 2015 free Computer Science camps is available here
Increasing our offering
In the second semester of 2014-2015 school year, we offered 6 after-school programs in 5 different cities. In the first semester of 2016, our offering increased by 140%, as we offered 14 after-school programs in 5 different cities.
In September 2015, Carden Academy of Almaden contracted Code for fun to provide instruction for the Technology classes to all their students (K to 8th).
In November 2015, Code for fun kicked-off a new program: CS Continuous Learning program to offer 10 hours of computer science per class during the school year and partnered with Belle Haven School from the Ravenswood School district.
In 2014, our first year of operations, we were able to offer 3 camps (1 during the summer and 2 during winter break). In 2015, we offered 33 camps (5 during Spring Break, 21 during the summer, 2 during Thanksgiving Break and 5 during Christmas Break).
2015 - Grants and Donations:
- $5000 from the Silicon Valley Community Fund
- $25000 from Facebook
- $1200 from Razoo Giving Tuesday event.
- $6000 from the annual fundraising event
- $13,000 from private donations.
2015 - In kind donation:
- 20 laptops from HP foundation
- Pro bono accounting from AccountingTeam
- Pro bono legal advice from Pillsbury