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Englewood students will spend summer learning to code

  • A Raspberry Pi, a small computing device, will be given to all Englewood Codes students
A Raspberry Pi, a small computing device, will be given to all Englewood… (Screenshot )
May 03, 2013|By Mick Swasko, @swasko | RedEye

Even though it had been months since Demond Drummer helped a group of Englewood students learn computer coding in 2011, he was still being approached with the same question.

"Will you help me build a website?"

So Drummer, a tech coordinator with Teamwork Englewood–-a community group aimed at improving education, safety and technology in the community--turned to crowd funding site Kickstarter to jumpstart a program the group calls Englewood Codes. In just four days, the program hit its goal of $5,500, with $1,000 primarily from the Englewood community coming in the first 24 hours.

"All my neighbors contributed," said Drummer, of Englewood. "It was pretty fantastic."

Now with $9,602, the program will be able to expand to 30 students, who will spend 10 weeks this summer learning HTML, CSS and some Java programming languages in order to build their own websites from scratch, Drummer said.

The students also will receive a Raspberry Pi, a credit card-sized, web-capable device that is essentially a computer. Drummer said the device will allow students to continue coding and hacking even if they don’t own a computer at home, as it can be hooked up to a standard TV.

Drummer said he has been surprised by the demand for a coding program.

"If you ask kids do you know HTML CSS, they say 'what?' If you ask them, do you want to build your own website? They say 'yes,'" he said. "This is their world. I had one kid look up from a computer and say, 'Hey, can I do this as a job?' I said, yes, this is a whole career field."

Applications for the program became available Friday, and students will be chosen by the end of the month. Students will not only build their own websites, but teams will also spend a week coming up with a project plan and website design for a local Englewood organization.

"Young people want to create, they want to participate in the economy," he said. "The room has never been so quiet as when the kids are trying to get their code to work."

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