Miles Davis used to sign off his albums with the curious expression “Directions In Black Music”. I have always imagined that this meant musical exploration at the edge of the known universe, like Voyager 1 drifting out beyond our solar system and tumbling into interstellar space. In that free-wheeling spirit of enquiry, Florence Okoye interviewed me for How We Get To Next.
Wanna to start a code club? No money? No equipment?
Shit. Well, you better have some brass neck, mate. Here are some things of note you may learn along the way: 1. People care about this
There’s a hunger for learning. People in threadbare communities know just how important this stuff is. They are smart, capable but lack resources and opportunities.
2. Collaboration is wonderful
Encourage it in your students. Learning new technical skills is hard, so pairing people together is a good approach. It makes class immediately more social, supportive and fun.
3. Some people need more help than others
Class is only as successful as the most challenged student. If you can bring them along with patience and creativity, you’ve won. Remember, it’s a foreign language.
Beg, borrow and steal everything you need. Being a shameless self-promoter matters. It’s not a natural pose for me, but I suppose my being talented and good-looking helps. See?
5. Make allies
Lots of people want you to succeed. Who can help you get this done? I’m trying to find that out.
6. Share the load
Doing this alone is hard work. I know. Ask for help, and lean on your students. I’m going to do more of this next week.
7. Find inspiring stories
Everything has it’s cultural context. Starting the class with the
Mae Jemison story was an electrifying entry. It said, “This is your house. There’s a place for you here, too.”
Here’s how it went down: