Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Cornell Tech Grad Students Hack Roosevelt Island - Teach Coding And Computer Literacy Workshops To PS/IS 217 Students And Senior Citizens

Last Friday, April 17, Cornell Tech graduate students visited Roosevelt Island, the future home of their campus beginning in 2017, to HACK ROOSEVELT ISLAND with PS/IS 217 students

and Roosevelt Island Seniors by teaching coding and computer literacy workshops within small groups and on an individual basis.

According to this Cornell Tech Press Release:
On Friday, April 17, over 30 Cornell Tech graduate students taught coding and computer literacy workshops to local middle school students and senior citizens on Roosevelt Island to show that computing can be fun and easy for New Yorkers of all ages at “Hack Roosevelt Island.”

Tied to the observance of Earth Day, volunteers from Cornell Tech’s Master’s programs practiced coding games related to the environment and computer graphics with 5th, 6th, and 7th grade students from PS/IS 217 using the python platform Codesters.

“We’re thrilled to partner with PS/IS 217 to give students the opportunity to learn about computing by building digital projects,” said Cornell Tech Sr. Director of K-12 Education Diane Levitt. “This is just one step in our commitment to bring K-12 technology education to Roosevelt Island and across the city. We look forward to working with the community to build on this event and create more tech opportunities over the next few years.”

Following the Middle School workshop, volunteers worked with adults at the Roosevelt Island Senior Center on general computer literacy and basic online and Internet skills. Seniors practiced finding recipes, travel suggestions, health tips and other vital information, including how to use Google Maps and general Internet safety and best practices.

“It was great to see students and senior citizens interacting with technology and learning skills that they will be able to use for many years,” said Miwa Takaki, Cornell Tech MBA student and lead student organizer for Hack Roosevelt Island. “Opportunities to volunteer with the Roosevelt Island community are part of what makes being a student at Cornell Tech so special and one of the reasons that I look forward to staying in the city after graduation.”

Cornell Tech is committed to developing K-12 education and other community engagement initiatives on Roosevelt Island, the home of its future campus, set to open in 2017. Friday’s event was an additional step towards fulfilling Cornell Tech’s promise to the city, with more programming to be created over the next few years.

For photos from the event please visit:

For PS/IS217 student coding projects please visit:
Codester's Gordon Smith tells us what happened at PS/IS 217 Hack Roosevelt Island

and a PS/IS 217 student explains his Earth Day project involving water bottles and a trip to the moon.

The PS/IS 217 Hack Roosevelt Island Earth Day projects can be seen here.

I spoke with Cornell Tech Director of K-12 Education Diane Levitt and MBA student Miwa Takaki following the PS/IS 217 portion of Hack Roosevelt Island. Ms Levitt explained that the PS/IS 217 students created digital games using the Python programming language.

Ms. Levitt then assisted me with the interview of Ms Takaki who is graduating from Cornell Tech and going to work for Ebay in NYC. Ms. Takaki is an example of the type of student envisioned for Cornell Tech by Mayor Bloomberg when he first proposed the idea of a NYC computer graduate engineering school in December 2010. Ms. Takaki is from the West Coast and came to NYC for the type of collaborative education provided by Cornell Tech and upon graduation is staying to contribute to the NYC Tech scene.

Hack Roosevelt Island then continued at the Roosevelt Island Seniors Center. Cornell Tech's Jane Swanson and Roosevelt Island's NYC Council Member, and Coder himself, Ben Kallos had some introductory comments.

The Hack Roosevelt Island was tweeted too.
More pictures of Hack Roosevelt Island available

 Image From PS/IS 217 PTA

 at the PS/IS 217 PTA web site.