Chatted this afternoon with Ryan Seashore about CodeNow.  It’s a project that launched in Feb this year and targets under represented youth to teach them how to code.

On how students are selected

  • “under represented” = girls and youth living below the poverty line
  • recruitment via teacher relationships (great idea to get motivated kids)

On the weekend training

  • Kids arrive knowing whether they like math/science but usually not whether they like computer programming, which is an opportunity.
  • Started with Scratch, but found the ceiling was too low.  How do you take Scratch learnings and apply them to the real world?
  • Started using HackityHack to learn Ruby.
  • This is all project-based learning.

On the bootcamp

  • 4-day intensive on Ruby
  • How to program and how to move forward
  • Given netbooks when they complete.  (Knowledge + tools = awesomeness)
  • Alumni network to help with jobs, etc.

Right now CodeNow’s 2011 goal is 3 weekend training and a bootcamp, with hopefully 30-40 graduates by the end of the year.  In 2012 they hope to grow to 4 cities.

Though it sounds to me like CodeNow is targeting further along the knowledge spectrum than us (ie: more technical), this sounds like a great program, with possibly a lot of overlap in the later achievement badges space, and even handoffs from basic web literacy to taking it to the next level.