In a district where most of our students receive free or reduced lunches, we have next to no access to high-quality STEM programs, computer science classes, or coding courses. When I was Googling different ways to fill some of these gaps and incorporate more STEM into my Girls Excelling in Math and Science (GEMS) after-school club, I discovered an online coding platform and coding competitions that are both accessible and affordable.
This was a big find. I wanted my students to excel and compete effectively with important college and career and STEM skills, regardless of how rich or poor our school district was, but we just didn’t have the resources to make that happen. I was looking for a platform that taught basic computer coding, and one that would allow anyone at any skill level to jump in and participate.
I also wanted a program that included robotics, and that segued into our existing robotics program, which starts in seventh grade. CoderZ checked all of these boxes, so we started using it three years ago. It effectively replaced the Hour of Code general coding/computer programming platform that we were previously using.