Let’s Teach Kids in Los Angeles How To Code For Free

Connected Camps in the running for My LA2050 Grants Challenge.

Connected Camps is partnering with LA Makerspace to participate in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge. We’re in the running for a $100,000 grant to help thousands of kids across Los Angeles learn to code for free. But we can’t win without your help. We need your vote.

>>If you vote for us, you can enter to win one of two free one-on-one personalized Minecraft coding workshops.<<

Vote for us now! Voting closes Nov. 3.

The My LA2050 Grants Challenge is part of LA2050, an initiative launched in 2011 by the Goldhrish Foundation to empower Angelenos to improve their city through financial, human, and social capital. Thirty thousand community voices have contributed to this year’s goals – make Los Angeles the best place to learn, create, play, connect, and live – via 30 #LA2050Listens community events and conversations from Central LA to the San Fernando Valley. Connected Camps has submitted a proposal to help make LA the best place to learn.

With this grant, we’d be able to provide free Minecraft-based STEM programming to thousands of kids in underserved communities all over Los Angeles. Research shows that when kids have access to out-of-school STEM activities, they have an increased interest in STEM, build real-life skills, and have more awareness of their career opportunities.1.

Minecraft is more than a computer game. It has a cult-like following of more than 100 million registered users.2. But Minecraft is also a deeply engaging learning environment where kids want to learn and have opportunities to cultivate positive attitudes toward learning. We know from research that attitudes toward learning play an important role in a child’s willingness to stay in school.

Our Minecraft coding camps enable students to learn and apply programming concepts through the ComputerCraft mod in Minecraft. They write real code in Lua that controls computers and robots to complete tasks and challenges. Through these challenges, they learn basic programming concepts, such as loops and functions. These camps move students beyond coding syntax and get them learning how code robust, unique programs to solve complex problems.

These skills are increasingly in demand in today’s workforce and are predicted to be even more in demand in the coming years. Forecasts estimate that by 2020, employment in all computer occupations is expected to increase by 22%, and demand for software developers specifically will be the strongest of the occupations with increases ranging from 28% to 32%. 3.

This grant would provide kids access to more than just the software. We also provide mentors that kids identify with, and projects that engage their interests. Research shows that combining these increases engagement. Beyond gaming, students who meet regularly with mentors are 52% less likely to skip a day of school and 37% less likely to skip a class. 4. We hope that by helping kids develop positive attitudes toward learning, we can impact absentee rates in Los Angeles classrooms.

We’ll only be able to make this work happen with your help. Vote for us to help improve learning in Los Angeles. We’re in the running for one of ten $100,000 grants that will be awarded to individuals and organizations working to reshape Los Angeles. Five winners will be chosen by popular vote, and another five by jury. Voting is now open and will run through November 3, 2015.

Last year, over 260 proposals were submitted for the My LA2050 Grants Challenge, and over the last two years, $2 million in grants has been awarded. Previous winners of LA2050 grants include a one-on-one mentorship program provided by City Year Los Angeles and Partnership for LA Schools, a work plan to transform the LA region to 100% sustainability in water and energy by UCLA Grand Challenges, and a school garden program expansion by EnrichLA.

1. http://www.afterschoolalliance.org/ExaminingtheImpactofAfterschoolSTEMPrograms.pdf
2. http://www.gamespot.com/articles/minecraft-passes-100-million-registered-users-14-3-million-sales-on-pc/1100-6417972/
3. http://www.computerworld.com/article/2502348/it-management/it-jobs-will-grow-22–through-2020–says-u-s-.html
4. http://www.mentoring.org/about_mentor/value_of_mentoring

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