Earlier this month, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg testified before the U.S. Senate. And while the hearing encouraged a necessary national conversation about data privacy, I can’t help wondering if many of the questions he received from Senate committee members reflected a poor understanding of how the technologies that we use everyday, like the Internet and social apps, actually work.
Jonathan Campos started his interest in tech with 3D art. Then realized with coding he could go further and make things that were useful. As time went on, the joy of creation pushed him to continue going further. Today, Jonathan is a chief mobile architect at Bottle Rocket Studios and mentors Bold Idea students who are creating 3D games.
Julia Benginow is a high school student at the TAG Magnet School for the Talented and Gifted in Dallas ISD. Every Thursday, she volunteers as a Bold Idea mentor at the Wesley-Rankin Community Center. With a 5 on the AP Computer Science Principles exam under her belt, Julia can both empathize with the west Dallas students who are just learning programming concepts, while knowing where their interest can take them when they stick with it.
MaKayla and Ascension are Bold Idea’s oldest students – high schoolers who have been participating in Bold Idea programs for nearly two years. The girls have noticed their perception of computer science evolve in that time. Bold Idea programs have had an impact on their confidence in solving problems and desire to continue creating projects - especially ones that help other people.
Nhat Dao changed his major to Computer Science after he realized that programming can help me make an impact on everything almost immediately. Today, Nhat is a software engineer at Flywheel Building Intelligence and serves as a Bold Idea mentor every Thursday afternoon.
Since childhood, Sreyas Karayi Vengilat has been interested in computers - especially computer games. He always wondered how computers worked and how to create his own game. Today, he is a Sr. Quality Assurance Engineer at T-Mobile, where he uses automation tools like Selenium Webdriver and Java to test web applications.
Daniel Lozano mentors Bold Idea students at Rosemont International Language School in Dallas. His most memorable mentoring moment was working with one student who often seems to be distracted. During one session, Daniel and other mentors asked him specific, well-thought out questions to make him consider many facets of a problem at the same time. The student went quickly from being distracted in general to intensely focused and productive. That taught Daniel that the students certainly have the capacity to think critically, even if they appear not to be interested. The difference is motivation. Everyone is motivated by different things, and learning what motivates someone is a powerful tool for a mentor.
Kids are among the most digitally savvy consumers on the planet. The amount of screen time they accumulate in the course of a year is staggering compared to the years before the iPad and iPhone existed. What is all this extra technology doing to your kids? How is it shaping their world and their minds?
Bold Idea mentor Benjamin Acker first started programming (JAVA) as a college freshman. When he ran his first program he felt as though he had landed in the world of Harry Potter and had been given his first wand. Ever since, he's been delighted by how much mathematics and analysis can be automated via programming.
The skills and techniques taught in computer science classes can be applied across nearly every major subject area. In addition, developing strong computational thinking abilities can enhance students’ problem-solving, communication, and data analysis skills for the rest of their lives.