Marking the end of Computer Science Education Week, FIU’s School of Computing and Information Sciences (SCIS) hosted the 5th annual CodeFest Miami, on Sunday, December 9th, 2018. During this “mini-hackathon” event, children from elementary, K-8, and middle schools from South Florida congregated in SCIS’ Tech Station to solve the challenge of Elder Care.
Over 160 students came to CodeFest this year, where they were placed into teams of 3 to encourage teamwork and pair programming. With their teams, students were asked to follow a specific set of tutorials on how to use Scratch. After 2 hours were up, students were given a presentation about Artificial Intelligence (AI) and how it could be used to help the elderly. Next, students were asked to apply what they learned in their Scratch tutorials, to create either an animation or a game that depicts a unique solution for the challenge of elder care.
After 1.5 hours of coding, 4 teams emerged with the most creative, unique, and well-coded solutions:
- A rookie team, “Bee Boi,” with no prior coding experience
- Team “Alloy” from Youth Co-op and Village Green
- Team “Robo Dog” from W.R. Thomas and Sunset Elementary
- Team “Altar” from George Washington Carver and Rockway K-8
Each of the 4 finalist teams was interviewed and asked to explain the choices they made in their animation or game. After much deliberation, the judges announced the first, second, and third place winners, and the rookie award. It was difficult to select just 4 teams since so many children did extremely well! SCIS encourages all children present at CodeFest to keep coding in Scratch! You will only get better with practice!
For more information about creating a Coding Club at your school, please click on https://go.fiu.edu/CodingClubs
Big Sisters/Little Sisters
In a parallel event during CodeFest called Big Sisters/Little Sisters, high school girls met with their FIU SCIS mentors, to discuss important topics that affect women in computing, and to celebrate the culmination of a 3-month tutorial effort, where they learned how to create digital art scenes using Code.org’s App Lab. FIU’s Women In Computing (WICS) hosted the reunion of the high school girls with their mentors, and led them through an anonymous voting for the best apps, getting each high school girl to look at and evaluate each other’s apps, voting digitally for the one that met the highest criteria for excellence. The high school girls with the top 3 best apps joined the main CodeFest event, and shared their creations with the elementary and middle school students, to further inspire them to continue to learn and achieve their highest potential.