HackHighSchool: Making Coding Accessible for High School Students
HackHighSchool is a community-oriented, self-directed coding program for students between 13 and 18 years of age. Our mission is to make coding education fun and accessible. Our high school programming is free and runs all year round. During the upcoming fall and spring semesters, Hackhighschool will run on Saturdays. This summer we are running four HackHighSchool camps and want to share how it has been going so far. The fourth session will be our football-themed data camp in August.
Summer Coding Sessions = Discovering How Fun It Is to Learn New Things
When you walk past the computer lab area where HackHighSchool operates, you can’t help but notice the smiles, laughter, and chatter. Sometimes you see that serious expression that coders get when you are looking at your code. It is great to see kids working together, learning how to code, and most importantly enjoying the learning process.
Building a Strong Foundation
Kai Drumm, the coordinator of HackHighSchool, shared how in the current camp session the focus is on building a strong foundation in a basic programming language. She noted, “We just started the second of four two-week sessions, which repeat the same four levels of class. Plus this session we are offering the C Basic Training curriculum. We are letting younger teenagers get a taste of the C Basic Training because they aren’t allowed to do it until they are 18 years old.
It’s been going really well. They are still working through the beginning stages where they are learning the terminal commands. They are working with UNIX systems, where they learn to use Vim and how to consult the built-in manual for UNIX commands such as grep, sed, cat, head, tail. Sed and grep are related programs, based on an early editor called ed. The C programming students are invited to stay all 4 weeks, but they work at their own pace through the C curriculum. Most of the C students have attended at least one previous HackHighSchool session.”
In the four-part python curriculum, first students learn basic python. From that knowledge, they build a basic game. After, that they learn object-oriented programming. This is followed by a more complex game design. The C “piscine” (named after the French word for swimming pool – as in, you swim in the world of code for a month) is a great option for kids who know they love to code. Some of the kid’s projects from the first session included a functioning chess game, game of Pac-Man, combat RPG, Advertising language generator, and a maze game. We have an informal showcase at the end of each session. Parents are invited to the showcase if they are able to come.
Students and Mentors: The HackHighSchool Experience in their own words
We sat down with a couple of HackHighSchool students to learn more about their experiences so far:
“It’s really cool to be in an environment where other people are coding. I like how flexible it is and I can work on what I want to work on. I am getting to learn how to teach, which I wouldn’t be doing in a traditional coding class. Cybersecurity is something that I am learning, which is what I want to do in the future.”
“I wish high schools offered this type of programming. I am in AP Computer Science but I am learning a lot more here. It is important for me to get different experiences than decide what I want to do. I have been recommending the program to all my friends.”
HackHighSchool has also been a rewarding opportunity for 42 students to take on a mentorship role. According to Kai, “We have had lots of awesome 42 student mentors going above and beyond to interact with kids. They do activities with them during their free time, and help them with all their questions.”
Jo Chang, 42 Student and HackHighSchool Mentor:
“It has been interesting, there are a lot of bright high schoolers and it’s been great to see them learn to code and enjoy code. Just having coding programs that are more accessible to people that age is important. I wish they had this when I was in high school.”
Ivan Kozlov, 42 Student and HackHighSchool Mentor:
“Back in my country we have computer science in our high school curriculum, but it isn’t advanced. High schools in the U.S. don’t have as many computer science opportunities. Camps like HackHighSchool give them early exposure. It’s the same as chess, the earlier you are exposed the better you are going to be. I definitely enjoy the fact that these kids are spending their free time during the summer learning how to code. Hopefully, they will be inspired to become a programmer in the future.”
Looking Forward: The 49ers Camp
49ers EDU has partnered with 42 Silicon Valley to introduce an innovative high school summer coding camp with a focus on football and data science. We’re thrilled to invite experienced and beginner coders to learn valuable coding skills with a focus on data science and sports through project-based learning. The camp will be held at the 42 Silicon Valley campus and campers will also visit Levi’s® Stadium.
Students will be able to enroll for the two one-week sessions happening the weeks of August 13 – 24 and will enjoy the support of peers and mentors while they learn and develop their skills. There is no cost to attend the camp.
It’s not too late to register! Visit this link for more information about the 49ers camp and our educational partnership.
If you are interested in learning more about HackHighSchool, please click here.