Tech-savvy students are on a mission to diversify computer science through tutoring
The central dilemmas of a generation might be understood by the assignments a good teacher gives her students. How can we tell if a website is reliable? is the topic in Heavenly Cole’s computer science classroom at Lincoln High School one morning. Her students, well versed in issues of “fake news,” internet security, and social media ethics, set to work mapping their ideas on poster-sized sheets of paper.
Facilitating the discussion for one group is Sofia Schwartz ’18, who started the Beta Coders club at the University of Puget Sound in 2017 to tutor high school students in computer science. To her right, a new student looks confused, until Sofia turns to him and attempts to translate. “Esta es más seguras, y esta es menos,” Sofia says, pointing to two different web addresses. She stumbles over her Spanish grammar, but she’s making the effort, and the student, who has just moved here from Mexico, smiles and nods his head.
Another student, clutching his severely shattered but still usable iPad, explains to a visitor why he’s liking this class. “Coding is the language of the internet,” he says, sitting up straighter, “and we’re writing it.”