On Monday, Stichting NewTechKids (NewTechKids Foundation) will launch the first of its Google RISE-supported, after-school computer science education programs in Amsterdam Southeast.

The RISE Awards support and connect not-for-profit organizations around the world which promote computer science (CS) to primary and secondary school students, with a focus on girls, minorities who are historically underrepresented in the field, and youth from low-income communities.

Stichting NewTechKids is using the Award to develop and launch a series of 21st Century Skills Clubs in Amsterdam Southeast. We are partnering with Projectenbureau Primair Onderwijs Zuidoost (PPOZO), an organization which coordinates after-school activities for primary school students in Amsterdam Southeast. PPOZO works with 10 school boards representing 29 schools in the area and 7017 students.

We’re excited to report that our upcoming programs have attracted 50% girls and 50% boys which is almost unheard of when it comes to computer science, coding and technology programs.

Achieving this result was a real community effort, made possible by the fact that schools, teachers, parents and enthusiastic students worked with Stichting NewTechKids to recruit this first batch of students.

Here’s how we did it:

Phase 1: Pilot Program

In partnership with PPOZO, Stichting NewTechKids ran a computer science pilot program for 7-9 year olds from September – December 2016. This pilot allowed us to introduce local students to computer science education and measure how they responded to new ways of learning (computer science theory, challenge-based, team-based, hands on activities).

The pilot generated valuable research on how to adapt our curriculum and teaching to engage children in Amsterdam Southeast. It also helped create a group of computer science ambassadors (students, parents, school directors, teachers).

Phase 2

Starting in December, we enlisted the help of school directors (principals) to raise awareness of our programs among teachers. Directors circulated a factsheet about the programs and asked their teachers to help identify and recruit students in their classes who will benefit from the programs. The factsheet included details about the programs and the following information:
– why learning about computer science and technology gives children important 21st century skills (computational thinking) and prepares them for the future
– what they will learn during the bootcamps
– ideal characteristics of students: curiosity, enjoy challenges, like hands on learning and making things, can work in teams, ask questions, can master new things, can listen, receive feedback and give feedback, can perform basic math calculations

Teachers sent their student recommendations to PPOZO. Participating students and their parents will be asked to sign commitment agreements to ensure that they attend the classes and are committed to meaningful participation.

So with this, Stichting NewTechKids has achieved a major milestone. Now the real work (and fun) begins next week.

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