We’ve got some news. Say hello to codecraft.live 👋
This summer has been a pretty big one for us here at Codecraft. We ran 20 summer camps, worked with over 285 students, and continued to bring robust computer science education to students in Melbourne and beyond.
But that’s not all we’ve been working on. We’re excited to announce our brand new, online platform Codecraft Live, and give some insight into how we built it and why.
We’ve all heard the statistics. Parents see the value a computer science education can have for their kids, but in a lot of cases, just don’t have access to it. We’ve found that teachers across the country do their best to introduce computer science and programming to students in any way they can, but oftentimes lack the technical background to dive deeper and allow a student’s interest in computer science to flourish.
In short, the future is already here, we just haven’t caught up to it yet. Since 2015, Codecraft has continued to try and find new ways to take that on — to bridge that gap between the now and what’s next.
We’ve spent the past two years thinking about ways to bring computer science education to the next level. In doing so, we realized that to truly achieve our mission of giving every child the opportunity to explore computer science, we needed to look beyond the walls of our Melbourne, FL headquarters. While we love running summer camps and after school labs, we knew that not everyone has the time, money, or resources to make it to our programs in person. And in dreaming of ways to make computer science more accessible for all, we knew we’d have to find a way to address that head-on.
To start that process, we applied for (and won!) two highly competitive National Science Foundation awards for the research and development of a new computer science learning platform. We spent time establishing partnerships with educators, figuring out what’s working for CS education (and what isn’t), and seeking solutions for the major problems we found using technology. Our software development team got to work, building an online platform from the ground up. We piloted our first prototype last spring with school partners, and again this summer in select camps, both at our Melbourne HQ and across the country. The result?
We made something awesome. We built Codecraft Live — a brand new online learning tool and community to help students learn faster and connect with both peers and experts. Paid membership connects Codecraft instructors with students for live programs from anywhere you can set a laptop down. It combines a real-time, collaborative code editor with live project simulation and video conferencing, allowing us to give the same world-class instruction and mentorship we would in person. Instructors can give lessons, examples, and constructive feedback all in an immersive online environment. Basically, it’s everything we’ve wished was out there to teach kids computer science, but just didn’t exist yet. The best part? Getting started with a Codecraft Live account is completely free.
While there’s plenty of online resources out there for self-guided computer science exploration, we strived to create an online platform that still fostered human connection, even when students and instructors are scattered across the country and beyond. In our tests this past year, we’ve found that Codecraft Live has been successful in doing just that.
Codecraft Live has already dramatically changed the way we teach kids and teens, both locally in Florida and across the country. In the past, we’ve partnered with schools across Florida to help run after school Code Clubs, but have always been limited by where our instructors could travel to and when. With Codecraft Live, we’ve been able to double the number of clubs we can host, simply by having our instructors meet club groups in an online setting, all in real-time.
Over the summer we partnered with FieldCore, a division of GE, to offer week-long, online STEM camps for FieldCore’s employees and their families. Kids from all over the U.S. participated in front-end web development and Scratch camps, from kitchen counters, campsites, and hotel rooms.
In the past few weeks, we’ve continued to offer Brevard Achievement Center’s Fibonacci program, both in-person and online. In doing so, we’ve been able to continue to offer our first Fibonacci student cohort a new level of robust workforce training completely online, allowing them to continue to work outside of class sessions.
Since launching Codecraft Works, we’ve learned that everyone benefits from education in computer science. And when we reach the day where every child has the tools they need to learn to code, we’ll be setting ourselves up for an even better future.
For now, we believe that Codecraft Live will bring us one step closer to achieving that goal, but we can’t do it without your help. Check out our newly expanded online courses and local club offerings, find out how to start a Codecraft Club, or learn more about Codecraft Works at www.codecraftworks.com.