NYU IT, Apple, and Local Schools Join to Teach K-12 Students Management and Coding Skills
By Kerri Campbell, James Walsh, and Meenakshi Baker
On Tuesday, August 28, 2018, students from Thomas A. Edison High School (TAEHS) and Middle School 217 (M.S. 217) participated in “Preparing Today’s Students for Tomorrow’s New York,” a first-of-its-kind learning program that brought students together with subject-matter expert volunteers from NYU IT and Apple Inc. to help them learn viable educational and workplace skills using project-based learning methodologies in software design and development. The event celebrated the forward thinking, dedication, and creativity that students exhibited while participating in this program over the summer.
Variety Instrumental Learning
A website that helps students develop fundamental learning skills for their grade. Students can log into the site and play games that will help reinforce concepts for their age group in common school subjects.
A website and application that streamlines the communication process between students and teachers. Students can check into class, review their homework, play games to study for tests and quizzes, and create reminders for their classes. Teachers are able to post course-review materials and homework assignments and review class attendance.
An application that enables high school and college-aged students to locate and sign up for local volunteer opportunities. It also allows students to track their volunteer hours so they can earn community service credits at their school.
An inclusive web community for gamers where users can ask gaming questions and join different gaming communities. Users are also able to connect with other users who share similar gaming interests.
Social Awareness and Mental Health
A website and app that helps students with social anxieties connect with others and create new friendships. It contains pages where students can play games, reflect on their feelings, provide encouragement to others, and manage their school work.
Reflections from Students and Mentors
Regarding the program, M.S. 217 Principal Patrick Burns said, “I think through the work they did in this series, in collaboration with Edison and NYU, the students became more and more understanding that when you’re out in the world, it’s going to get uncomfortable. You’re not going to sit there and just get information; you’re going to be challenged to find your own solutions. Here, they got a platform in the classroom where teachers got to say ‘here’s where you’re supposed to be’ rather than ‘here’s what you need to do.’”
TAEHS student Adrian Singh, reflected on the importance of partnership and collaboration: “I think this benefited us because only in this program did you realize that everyone in your class is a puzzle piece, and we have a lot more potential together. Once you have those puzzle pieces together, you realize you can make a much larger impact. Leadership is not only about who is in charge, but also about sharing ideas and learning from each other and being able to benefit from that. I’m able to share that with all of my peers now.”
Students also explained how participation in this program impacted them as individuals. TAEHS student Kerra Sinanan, noted why learning about project management was important to her: “At the end, they all tie into one. You’re going to need to a little bit of everything but project management is one that stood out the most to me. If you want to be the boss of your own company one day, you need to do a lot of project management.” Adrian Singh agreed: “I feel like project management is one of those skills that once you learn it, you can apply it to your everyday life in an every way.”
For Aarsha Joshi, a student from M.S. 217, learning about the development process was a meaningful experience. “For me, development meant the most. When we were developing our apps and our ideas were just on paper and we wrote them down really quickly and we expanded them into something that was important to us. Development helped me visualize my ideas and took something from paper and made it tangible.”
Meanwhile Mohammed Aljahmi, said that learning the principles of data science was important to him. “The lesson that was most important to me throughout the course was data science because I learned a lot and in working with my group I learned how to put A and B together to see who was interested in what.” Mohammed also shared that he will advance his learning in this area by taking more computer science courses: “I want to continue with computer science, and I’m probably going to continue with a coding bootcamp or online courses. I’ve also applied to AP computer science for the following year.”
Learning wasn’t limited to the student participants, though. M.S. 217 teachers Ross Berman and Michael Goldstein explained that participation in this program was a learning opportunity for them as well. As Michael reflected on how he approached preparing for the classes that he led throughout the program he said, “I didn’t know what to expect, but I was all for it. During the day when we were executing the lesson plans, we were learning with the students. This is my 19th year of teaching and I find myself learning with the students and with colleagues and administrators.”
Similar sentiments were shared by Ross who noted that he plans on incorporating some of the overarching concepts he learned while participating in program into his regular classroom curriculum. During the program, students were encouraged to develop their own solutions to problems at hand. Encouraging independent thinking and allowing the students to engage in problem solving discussions impacted how they approached designing and developing their projects. Ross shared that,“It’s communicating and work together and solving problems in the right way and I hope I can teach my students that these are the 21st century skills that it takes to be successful.”
In addition to celebrating the first student cohort’s achievements, leaders from Upperline Code, zyBooks, JP Morgan Chase, and Dell Inc., along with school representatives from Marymount School, Loyola School, The Walter H. Crowley Intermediate School, and the Corona Arts & Sciences Academy came together to discuss the potential for this program over the upcoming academic year and ways it can be expanded in terms of time, content, and schools to enhance the experience for students and teachers. Based on this, the program administration team along with the schools participating in the second cohort of the program are looking to incorporate course content in cybersecurity, augmented reality, and virtual reality.