Facebook just announced a new program to provide greater access to girls and children of color to computer coding. CodeFWD is a free online program for teachers and organizations to introduce programming to 4th through 8th graders.
The CodeFWD program is comprised of three steps:
- I do: educators learning. CodeFWD prepares educators to introduce the basics of computer programming to their students, even as they may be discovering the concepts themselves.
- We do: educators and students learn together. The next set of online activities is designed for educators to use to introduce students to computer programming.
- You do: students practice their new skills. During this last set of activities, educators are supporting their students as they take what they’ve learned and apply it to block-based coding exercises.
After completing the program, educators can apply for free, programmable robots to further develop the children’s programming skills. The robots are provided by Sphero, which is partnering with Facebook in this effort.
The program is available in both English and Spanish. It teaches computer programming fundamentals, the power of programming, block-based coding, and basic control structures.
“CodeFWD is a new, free program for teachers and other adults working with 4th through 8th graders in the U.S. that uses videos and other activities to inspire interest in the field of computer programming. Teachers who participate in the program are eligible to receive a free coding robot and a classroom kit to further the learning process,” said Todd Breasseale, a Facebook representative.
“We are working with URM/underserved students so that the next generation of tech innovators better reflects who we all are, incorporating diversity and building a future that benefits us all. We have already worked with the Harlem Children’s Zone, the Chicago Youth Center, Boys & Girls Clubs, Latinitas (Austin & El Paso), and others to pilot this exciting new program.”