Friday, November 14, 2008


What if high school or college CS teachers ran summer camps for middle school students and hired high school girls or freshman/sophomore college women to teach them?
  • It would provide role models for middle school students, to encourage them that CS could be for them.
  • It would encourage the high school/young college students that they are worthy along with reinforcing what they know
  • It would give some interesting skills to middle school students that they can not necessarily get in other places like school or after school programs
  • It can serve as community service for the high school students. 
I did this once. An alum approached me and asked to run a one-week Java class in the summer as her senior service project. She created the curriculum, I got the students, and she taught it for two hours a day over a week. It went great!

I would trust most of my alumni with most of my students. They don't want to look stupid, so they're motivated to do well. They wouldn't agree to do it if they didn't know the material well enough. Anyone who can pass AP CS knows more than enough to teach Java to middle schoolers. I can help them think of fun activities that will engage the students. And it's summer, so there's no academic pressure. 


  1. I think it's a great idea for all of the reasons you listed. I also think that the camps could get an additional value if there was a way to bring in a professional or two to show how the CS skills they just learned can be applied in all kinds of interesting ways; I would even bet that some of your local CS companies would be happy to provide you with speakers.

  2. I think that is a wonderful idea. It's so important to get middle school kids at least aware and ideally excited about computers as more than just play things.
    I like ScienceGirl's idea of guest speakers as well. We're working to get more people from my company visiting schools and talking to students to help excite and inform students.