The time spent with the middle school students of Garden Homes Lutheran School was so much fun, we knew we needed to do more “teach back” moments with other schools in the Milwaukee area. For that reason, we jumped at the opportunity when Milwaukee Community Cyber High School (MC2) got in contact with us about bringing their high school students for a code along at devCodeCamp.
Due to the success we had with the Garden Homes Lutheran School students of building a TwitterBot using Python, we decided it made sense to do the exact same project with the Milwaukee Community Cyber High School students. Part of the application process included downloading files from GitHub, creating a folder to hold such files, editing the Python files to include authentication tokens to ensure developer credibility, and running the Python application to grab popular Twitter hashtags as well as post student-created tweets automatically.
The MC2 students, being new to coding, were a little skeptical at first. With that said, the ability to have the creative ideas in their mind explode on the very computer screens in front of them thanks to the code they manipulated was enough to sell the entire class that coding is awesome.
To make matters even more enjoyable, we paired each MC2 student with a current devCodeCamp student. The opportunity to do the student “teach back” was a win-win from devCodeCamp’s perspective. It allowed devCodeCamp students to test their recently obtained coding knowledge, because teaching others really enforces concepts and technical ability. It also was a win from the MC2 students’ point of view. The high school students not only had the enjoyable experience of learning from older students, but also, they got to see how much knowledge can be absorbed and then implemented in just a matter of weeks. The fact was the devCodeCamp students had only been learning how to code for a couple of months up to that point.
After building a TwitterBot together, the collective students found a common interest in gaming. The MC2 teachers that accompanied their students on the trip informed devCodeCamp of a video game club they formed, in which students play Nintendo Super Smash Bros. Coincidentally, Super Smash Bros. just happened to be the game of choice devCodeCamp students would play on their lunch break. A tournament of the four best MC2 students versus the four best devCodeCamp students immediately ensued to cap off the enjoyable day. Of course, the devCodeCamp students emerged victorious in the gaming action.