From counselor to computers, Sydney Wolff has passionately created a new coding class for Culver Upper Schools campers.
After completing an internship at IBM, Wolff realizes how important coding can be and that technology fields, such as computer science, are changing society. She asserts that every student, regardless of background, can learn something from her new class.
The class certainly doesn’t lack interest. In its starting trimester, approximately 60 students signed up for her class; and she teaches all six class periods every day.
The first trimester was “incredible,” she said. “The students come to class ready to learn, and their passion is contagious. We have a great mix of students with and without coding experience, and they help teach each other.”
By the end of the two-week session, Wolff’s goal is the students will be able to “understand coding, why coding matters, and how it relates to other, non-technical parts of their lives like relationships, communication styles, and leadership.”
The class offers both basic coding skills for those students just starting to learn as well as more advanced projects for students with previous coding experience. Initially, Wolff’s curriculum had students learning with coding “blocks” to make coding less intimidating to the inexperienced. After a few days, students begin typing their own commands and learning about digital design. On the days they spend working on individual projects, they also take the time to share their work with the class to encourage their public speaking skills.
Beyond coding, Wolff’s class reinforces the leadership lessons her students are learning at Culver. A topic like coding comes with learning problem solving, attention to detail, and communicating clearly. Working with these leadership skills, Wolff hopes that it encourages students to become strong leaders in their units and helps them to do it effectively.
The class’s fun projects are sure to draw in more students. On the very first day, students learned how to code “blocks” by making their own version of the game Flappy Bird. As they better understand coding, they get to race against each other in a binary coding relay, create pixel art, participate in a Taylor Swift-themed class about programming iOS apps, and learn how to use the new 3D printers in the Pigott Center.
The class is primarily using Python to code; Wolff explained. However, the students also gain familiarity with HTML, Swift, and Scratch. Wolff keeps her students well-rounded and prepared for any coding opportunity that might come their way while appealing to all of their different interests.
As a graduate from Culver Summer Camps in 2014 and Culver Girls Academy in 2015, Wolff is currently working her third summer at camp after spending two summers as a Deck 7 assistant counselor. She has experience in both cyber security and public speaking, both of which lend her the skills necessary to lead a coding class. Her interest in creating a coding class is at least partially influenced by her internship with IBM as a client relationship representative and the fact that she is going to be joining IBM in August as a solution sales specialist. Her coding class is sure to leave its mark on Culver Summer Schools & Camps.