Marymount School of New York
I am a high school senior interested in coding and computer science. I am proficient in basic HTML and CSS, and I am in the process of learning Java. Computer science interests me because I love having the ability to create tools for myself and for others that allow me to accomplish things like running my own website or coding applets that can filter photos or execute complex calculations with little effort. I taught a club for fourth and fifth grade girls at my school this past fall called "Introduction to Scratch" which introduced the girls to basic programming concepts through an easy-to-understand platform.
Encouraging Girls' Interest in STEAM Through Programming with Scratch
This past fall, I taught a club in my old middle school for fourth and fifth grade girls called "Introduction to Scratch." My keynote covers what the club accomplished and why the effort to introduce more young girls to computer science is so important.
The Young Hackers
Mamadou is a hackathon guru currently in his senior year of high school. He enjoys coding websites and iOS apps in addition to solving problems that makes people's lives better. Mamadou is also the Co-founder of The Young Hackers, an organization dedicated to connecting and empowering a diverse new generation of programmers. Mamadou really enjoys playing basketball, procrastinating on Youtube, and freestyle rap-battling with his friends.
'I care about hacker communities because I believe that they are the ones that will solve society's biggest issues -- making the world a more equitable place.'
The Young Hackers
The Young Hackers is a group of high school students dedicating to empowering the next generation of programmers. We do this through Hackathons, Learnathons, and Hackventures. In this keynote we will explain the importance of youth empowerment with technology and how it unlocks this maker mindset among students. We also will discuss how we ensure our hackathons are as diverse as possible in order to encourage a more diverse tech sector. Hackathons are the ultimate creative environments to express passions for technology and we believe there should be similar environments everywhere.
Coco Kaleel, an 8th grader from California, supports and inspires technology novices and enthusiasts with her website www.veryhappyrobot.com. Embracing 3D printing, coding, design software and even drones, Coco hopes to encourage her peers to make technology, not just consume it. With kit reviews and making tips, Coco tries to simplify the process for her audience to make it more accessible, whether simple blinky-lights or a full 3D printer kit. Coco had the honor to co-write the foreward to the recently published book The New Shop Class: Getting Started with 3D Printing, Arduino, and Wearable Tech from Apress Publishing. Coco’s appeared as a panelist on topics such as “Arduino Grassroots Revolution” and “Women in STEM” at Loscon40, did a poster presentation at 3D Printer World Expo, gave her talk “Girls and Robots” at the Texas Linux Fest in Austin, and recently delivered the conference warm-up and taught a soldering class to educators at the Design and Maker Class Colloquium. MAKE Magazine posted a blog about Coco and one of her mentors entitled “Soldering a Connection – The Start of a Mentoring Relationship” which was then translated for MAKE: Japan. Coco also enjoys fencing; field hockey; her school 3D printing, robotics, math, and Latin clubs; playing the oboe; and helping puppy-raise for Guide Dogs of America.
Making Makers: A Drill Press is a Girl's Best Friend (A Boy's, too)
Coco hopes to help make makers and inspire innovators by demystifying technology and tools. She wants students and educators to not be intimidated by machinery that can help them collaboratively and creatively expand their worlds as makers. Coco’s “happy place” is in the garage or at her local hackerspace where she uses industrial laser cutters, a lathe, a drill press, a grinder/buffer, and saws like saber, fret, mitre, table, and hack. She makes projects ranging from a laser-cut logo on a student council suggestion box, to a Halloween costume illuminated with LEDs connected to a microprocessor, to 3D-printed camera mount brackets for her drone. She even fixed the family’s dishwasher for $1 using her soldering skills and an inexpensive part from the local electronics store. Coco advocates for girls and boys to have safe access to tools that once were common in shop classes in schools just a generation ago. For the next generation of problem solvers, Coco hopes that maker spaces in schools become as commonplace as soccer teams and scouts. Coco will walk the audience along her path with technology and discuss getting started with soldering, learning to use Arduino in projects, and understanding software to learn 3D printing. She’ll also highlight summer camps, publications and websites that inspired her. She’ll bring all of these elements together when she talks about her summer challenge to build a flying tri-copter by sourcing and making her own parts. The sky’s the limit when girls and boys have the tools.
Aruna Prasad is a junior at the Spence School in New York City. She is the founder of Nerdina, a forum for school girls interested in technology to learn and collaborate, which will then prepare them to innovate and lead. Most current initiatives meant for school girls focus on coding and not on developing a broad as well as a deep understanding needed to develop future innovators and leaders. For example, few students are aware of something as fundamental as how emails reach their destination by navigating the web. Through Nerdina, Aruna has launched a website (www.nerdina.org) as well as an iOS app as collaboration tools for Nerdinas from around the world. She has also developed a Nerdina Kit and recorded over 15 videos (posted on YouTube Channel, Nerdinas) as tools to learn fundamental technology concepts. She organizes an interschool event called Young Innovators Meet-up, featuring reputable speakers. Aruna’s interest in understanding the enablers of the digital revolution at a fundamental level started in middle school. She therefore discontinued from regular school and enrolled in a web-based school during 8th grade, spending much of her time in learning various aspects of software development and web technologies. She learned how to write device drivers using Python, develop iOS apps using Objective-C, create web forms using PHP and process data using MySQL. Her interest in understanding how technology products are developed led her to experiment with electronic circuits. She studied data networking concepts which form the backbone of the digital revolution that has enabled the explosive growth of the World Wide Web. She is presently interested in machine learning applications that can be deployed in smart sensors to improve quality of life for people. She is also keenly interested in big data, especially related to consumer and social media applications. Aruna co-leads the Current Events Club at Spence and enjoys playing the piano and the Indian classical violin. "Website - www.Nerdina.org YouTube Channel - Nerdinas (www.youtube.com/Nerdinas)
A Comprehensive Curriculum to Prepare Students for Innovation and Leadership in Technology
The technology curriculum for schools is evolving but it has hardly kept pace with the evolution of technology itself. Educators that define technology curriculums have various ideas on what should be taught in schools based on their own perspectives. Therefore, the preparedness of students to take advantage of the huge opportunities in the field of technology depends largely on the school they attend. Some schools focus on computer programming classes while others encourage technology clubs such as Robotics. Most students that graduate from high schools do not have an understanding of the building blocks of the digital revolution (for example, most students are not aware of how an email travels from a sender to a recipient even after they have taken a course in computer programming). In order to prepare students for leadership and innovation in technology, it is important to develop a structure for technology education in middle schools and high schools that imparts in students a comprehensive understanding of the fundamentals. Technology education should be structured similar to the manner in which traditional subjects like English and Math are taught. Technology “grammar school” should build the fundamentals on which it will be easy for students to understand and grasp advanced concepts. My session on “A Comprehensive Curriculum to Prepare Students for Innovation and Leadership in Technology” will propose a technology curriculum for middle school and high school students with an emphasis on the building blocks imparted through practical learning. When students graduate from high school, they should be excited to participate in the digital revolution as contributors, innovators and leaders.