Open menu
Kids in Front of Laptop

Building Apps, One Student at a Time

by Winnie Hu

The New York Times

Article excerpt

Teaching Bronx Students the Language of Computers

The website allows users to post videos of police abuses, track them on an interactive map and even play a game in which the goal is to avoid gunfire from police officers. Called Protect & Swerve, the website and companion app were created by six Bronx high school students who recently presented their work to business and community leaders, including the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, at an economic summit in Midtown Manhattan.

Our take

Teaching Students to Create, Not Just Consume Technology

In a move to help students become “creators rather than consumers” of apps and video games, schools in the Bronx are providing students with options to build their own apps as part of a campaign, and competition, with the nonprofit firm Code/Interactive. With the right tools, a little education and the opportunity to experiment, students can do all kinds of great things with technology as this Bronx campaign illustrates. How could you adopt methods like this to better engage students in science and technology?

We all know how critical coding skills are for today’s youth—and for businesses around the globe. But, sitting in seats and talking about how to code doesn’t engage students for long. Letting them try it themselves by using these skills to create their own games and apps creates more engagement and likely greater learning. Instead of lecturing at students to teach coding skills, consider offering opportunities for them to experiment with and use those skills in practical ways aligned with their interests.