With only one week left of supervised class time, this inaugural Summer of Code program will come to an end. Beyond what statistics can define as far as participation, the stories & change is what I’m always after. Even in week 5, we saw two new students approach the Chromebooks with a mystified mystic about what world they were about to encounter. Spending the summer here from Texas, with a goal to better communicate with Dad who’s a programmer himself, they leapt into the unknown. What they discovered they will only truly know, but from an outsider’s (a coaches) perspective, I saw that moment of joy.
There is always at first a bit of excitement at the prospect of what the programming world will be like and what you can create, followed by severe hesitation questioning their own confidence and ability to understand it. But through the lifeline of Khan Academy a bridge is built. And when the student first walks over this bridge, comes that moment of joy. A spark where they find out their own power, words can create images, and images can change minds.
It was no different this week as we saw those initial moments of joy from our newcomers but repeated users overcome obstacles. New challenges are often met with “Show me how” or “I don’t understand” seeking, no begging for direction or help. By a simple twist of instruction words which appear lifeless on a computer screen, into the reassuring confident voice of a coach, the student is brought to life. What once seemed like an insurmountable challenge is nothing more then a mere hurdle that is skillfully lunged. No more the captain then a fellow companion along this journey with them, pointing out what they often already know but fail to believe in themselves. Witnessing the magic week in and week out as their voice becomes more powerful because of a computer language. The takeaways of confidence and exposure to a new skill set are beyond any number can represent.
I am proud of my students and get excited when they do. I look forward to one more week of witnessing the magic and hope to be able to capture it for the community at large, because it is something infectious, something youthful, something hopeful that everyone can get behind.