What in the world were we thinking? Well, that's a great question! We don't want just coders. We want Makers.
We wanted something more.
There are other good academies out there. They teach coding using a lot of the same tools that we use. But, we wanted something more. We wanted a curriculum steeped in Computer Science Standards. We wanted kids to learn more than just coding. We want them elbows deep in circuit boards and writing code. We wanted to teach them to be makers.
What is a maker?
Makers are a tech focused subset of the DIY culture. As President Obama once said - "Today's DIY is tomorrow's Made in America." Makers are inspired to invent and to create new and exciting tech devices or make existing ones better. We want to inspire kids to believe that they can change the world.
What in the world do we think we can do differently?
We focus on something that we call "Full Stack". Teach kids coding - yes - but also teaching them how that code works on a machine. But first, teaching them to build that machine. Each of our students builds a mini-computer that they will use to write code and add peripherals to - in order to gather inputs or react to the environment. Our program really begins where the others end. We are builders. We are engineers. We are makers.
We have students progress through a curriculum based in Computer Science Standards from the CSTA and then extended them into building the devices that we are coding. This could be anything from a pirate FM radio to a legacy gaming console. Regardless of the project, the students build the full stack.