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News Schools/Education Milpitas High School student creates global online learning community, teaches free coding...

Milpitas High School student creates global online learning community, teaches free coding classes

A global pandemic is not doing anything to stop Milpitas High School senior Havi Le. 

As the Founder and Head Instructor of Milpitas CoderDojo, Le is full of motivation, and impassioned about using her knowledge to teach free coding classes to students, while also exposing them to other cultures from around the world. 

Earlier this year, in March, Le was teaching Scratch ( a visual programming language) to elementary school students and Javascript to middle school students from Milpitas Unified School District (MUSD) and surrounding schools. Classes were happening after school at the San Jose City College Milpitas Extension. But she had to stop teaching for a period of time while adjusting to the new landscape of COVID-19. Then, come summer, Le began a virtual program, teaching coding to students from various states and countries. Not only were they able to learn coding, but they also learned from one another and shared information about their diverse cultures. Students were from Milpitas, as well as England, Australia, Canada, and other parts of the U.S.    

Now, in the Fall of 2020, Le has some new projects up her sleeve. She, along with her team of five students (also from Milpitas High), is even more focused on continuing to cultivate a global online learning community. They’re teaching online classes to students in both Korea and India, as well as in America. 

Currently, they’re teaching eight high school students from Sejong Global High School, located in South Korea, how to build their own personal websites. To accommodate the students, Le and her five volunteer instructors are waking up before 4am each Wednesday, so as to teach the two-hour class. 

“I wake up at 3:30am and start class at 4am, and then we end at 6am,” said Le. “Then I take a nap and start my online learning for my high school classes.” 

For the students in Korea, the class runs from 8pm to 10pm. Le told The Beat that due to the time difference in Korea, as well as the schedule for the students there, that was their preferred time to attend the class. But whereas others might have felt deterred by the early start time, Le and her team embraced it. At first Le wasn’t sure her team would be open to waking up so early one day a week, but all of them were so committed that they agreed to it. 

“They’re just so amazing,” said Le of her five volunteers. 

Meanwhile, the group is also teaching a virtual coding class to students in India, along with students in Milpitas and other schools in California.  

“Since summer, I have been reaching out to international organizations to be able to have students from different parts of the world learn code together. Vasundhara Srivastava, a Club Programme Coordinator at Raspberry Pi Foundation, heard about my initiatives so she reached out and connected me to an organization in New Delhi, India, called CodeTigers,” shared Le. “Sandeep Sheokand and Niranjana Sheokand, Co-Founders of CodeTigers, were eager to partner with Milpitas CoderDojo and create global sessions with students from America and India. We arranged a 5-week session teaching elementary students Scratch. After our first 5-week session, we plan on making improvements before bringing our students another set of sessions.”

Thirty students in her present coding class are from America, while another 30 are located in India. Of the 30 students from America, many are from Milpitas. 

“The age group is 3rd grade to 6th grade, but there are several students who are a little younger and older than that,” said Le. 

In the future, she plans on continuing her work with CodeTigers. She also hopes to continue expanding Milpitas CoderDojo, and is thus reaching out to other organizations in other countries. 

In 2021, if it’s deemed safe for students to return to their physical schools, Le will again start hosting classes at the Milpitas Extension. In the meantime, she also wants to find a way to include international students virtually. After she graduates from high school, she plans on continuing to be deeply involved with Milpitas CoderDojo, even during college—yet she will be handing the reins to her younger volunteers to continue the work that she began.  

“I definitely want this to continue. I feel like making my program better and better, making it more exciting and meaningful for my volunteers and my students,” said Le. 

 

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Rhoda Shapiro
Rhoda Shapiro works as a journalist and media consultant in the Bay Area. She has written for both the Tri-City Voice and the Mercury News, and is the founder of Chi Media Company, which works with nonprofit organizations to elevate their marketing and communication platforms. Rhoda is also an author; her first book will be published by Llewellyn Worldwide in mid-2019. Her YouTube channel, which features practices in yoga, meditation, and women’s empowerment, has amassed thousands of subscribers. Rhoda is The Milpitas Beat’s founder.

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