Young men in grades 4 – 6 gathered at the Lockhart Elementary School on Saturday, April 13, 2019, for a mentally stimulating coding workshop hosted by STEAM Education Director Shamika Williams-Henley, a part of her “Gentlemen of eSTEAM” initiative.
The two-hour workshop, facilitated in partnership with the jeniusLogic Foundation, introduced students to the logic-based analysis required for writing and debugging codes using the coding language Swift. According to jeniusLogic Foundation Program Director Joshua Mitchell, the local non-profit teaches young Virgin Islanders entrepreneurial skills and how to build mobile apps using the Swift programming language.
Students were introduced to functions which they used to solve various puzzles within the Swift Playgrounds app. Swift Playgrounds is an iPad-based coding application that teaches students coding concepts and allows them to write and test their code in real-time as they solve puzzles designed to reinforce the coding concepts. The puzzles then grew in complexity from challenge to challenge. During the session, students would break the silence with a thrilling “I got it!” or “Yes!” in response to solving their puzzles and advancing to the next level.
Mitchell who also runs a software development company, jeniusLogic, LLC, emphasized the importance of students identifying their passions and how they can pursue careers that align with those passions. He also shared resources where students could continue their learning and development.
“The technology industry is rapidly evolving with enormous opportunities for our young people. It is crucial for our youth to understand that they are not merely passive consumers in the technology, but they are innovators, creators, and problem-solvers as well,” explained Mitchell.
Senator Oakland Benta dropped in to check out the workshop and worked excitedly alongside the students as they practiced the coding concepts on Swift Playgrounds.
“The world is truly yours. If you take what you learned today and you continue to develop, there is nothing that will be able to stop you. I want to thank the parents for being so committed to these students and their development in these fields because their development is essential to our future,” said Senator Benta, approvingly.
The Gentlemen of eSTEAM workshop series was established to help young men develop confidence as well as the competencies needed to excel in the STEAM fields.