ADDIng to the Future — What’s Next?

American Digital Diversity Initiative
Digital Equity
Published in
3 min readAug 22, 2018

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We can all agree that learning a new language can be difficult for some of us. Understanding grammatical rules, word meanings, and spelling are all very stressful, especially when you put them together. But, finally having a conversation in a new language that satisfaction, makes it all worth it.

Learning the language of coding isn’t all that different. You have to follow the same basic rules of understanding to be able to execute and run code, which is exactly what American Digital Diversity Initiative and New Economics for Women have been working on all summer. We’ve partnered together to run a Coding Summer Camp designed to educate high school students on the endless possibilities brought from learning coding. NEW, a national nonprofit, “has become a wise and resilient community development organization understanding what it takes for lower income, women-led families to become knowledgeable and empowered.”

By teaching the basics of HTML, CSS & Javascript to our students, they took on the challenging mission of learning these new languages. The objective: complete two tasks within the six week program. The first, create a website based on something that interested them. The second, working in smaller groups to create a website to promote the summer coding camp.

Finding a topic of interest was easy enough for our students, hobbies such as soccer, video games, make up tutorials popped up. But some of our students took the opportunity to create a website for a possible business idea they had, showing entrepreneurship can strike at any age. Once the students grasped the initial concepts of how to develop their sites, we split up into smaller groups, each focused on a specific section of next years summer coding camps website. Here is an example of one the built sites: https://dmsoccerhelper.neocities.org/

But coding wasn’t all the students learned, we wanted to show them how to take these skills and apply them to the real world. We invited guest speakers to come an educate on how to leverage their sites through other platforms such as graphic design and social media, giving a well rounded experience into the digital world. Incoming seniors Daniel Mendoza and Gloria Vega remarked:

Attending the summer coding camp helped me learn and understand how to code. It was a big step for me but most importantly it helped me figure out future possibilities in this field.

-Daniel Mendoza

I think it’s important to learn to code. It is a skill that can impact your future in so many ways such as in college. If someone is interested in a career such as computer programming, I think this is a great way to start.

-Gloria Vega

Additionally, our expert summer instructor Danny Gonzalez was well received by the students,

Being able to be the instructor of this innovative summer coding camp was very special for me. It was great to see the students absorb the knowledge and let their creativity come to life. We have a lot of students already looking to be their own bosses. That is the power of the technological world we live in.

-Danny Gonzalez, Software Engineer

To top off our summer camp, with the help of Alma Godinez Levo, co-leader of Local Levo LA, we ended with a field trip to the YouTube facilities in Playa Vista. Thanks to the hospitality of YouTube , the students were able to meet staffers and pick their brains about their experiences, technology and more. It left all our students eager and excited to find out more about the digital world and the possible impact it could have on their future. ADDI is extremely proud of our class this year, and looks forward to continuing to work with them as we shape a path for their digital success.

Stay Tuned:

New Economics for Women Van Nuys Family Center is hosting a “Student Media Makers Club” in partnership with the American Digital Diversity Initiative and the Next American Media Makers. The Club focuses on teaching high school students digital media skills helping them learn to tell their own, and their community’s stories. The 8-week program starts on September 24 and is fashioned after a highly successful workshop also hosted by NEW last spring.

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