For educators like Tara Bordeaux, named Texas Teacher of the Year in 2018, Apple’s Teacher Coding Academies are transformative.
“The training makes you feel like you really can accomplish anything,” says Bordeaux. “It was really a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
The elementary, high school and college educators who attended this summer’s academies came from different states, schools and backgrounds — but they all shared one new and very important responsibility: shepherding their students into a world where coding is a common language. The teachers are determined not only to teach their students about coding, but to show them how they can channel that knowledge to make the world a better place, starting with their communities. On that front, they’re leading by example.
In Boise, the teachers designed an app to help the police department better serve and communicate with the city’s homeless population, connecting the community to open shelter beds and food banks.
In Austin, teachers focused on Ronald McDonald House, a charity that provides housing for families whose children are receiving critical medical care. In this case, they created an app prototype to help families communicate with the charity during their stay.
And in Columbus, the educators devised an app that helps firefighters log and monitor the amount of time they were exposed to dangerous carcinogens while on the job.
“By the time the week is over you feel confident enough to go back to your classrooms and pass the skills on to your students.”
At the beginning of each week, members of local organisations presented a challenge they face to the group and asked the teachers to design an app to meet that specific need. After breaking up into smaller teams, Apple Professional Learning Specialists helped the teachers design their apps, introducing the building blocks of coding along the way with Apple’s coding language Swift and the Everyone Can Code curriculum. The week ended with a showcase, where the teams presented their app prototypes to the community organisations.
Bordeaux was initially apprehensive about attending the Austin Teacher Coding Academy because she doesn’t consider herself tech savvy when it comes to coding.
“I’ve been to coding trainings and those were kind of stiff and hard to understand,” says Bordeaux. “I felt like people were expecting me to have more of a background in coding than I actually had. But that was completely the opposite with Apple. By the time the week is over you feel confident enough to go back to your classrooms and pass the skills on to your students.”
When Bordeaux returns to Navarro Early College High School in Austin to resume her photography and filmmaking classes this fall, she will introduce augmented reality, and start a Girls Who Code club. In doing so, she’ll help bring Apple’s Everyone Can Code and Everyone Can Create curricula to life.