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The Div joins Code.org as Professional Learning Partner

We’ve been sitting on some pretty exciting news for a few weeks now, and we’re finally able to tell you all about it. Ready…?

The Div has been selected as a Code.org Professional Learning Partner and will be the designated provider of Code.org programs in Oklahoma!

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Board members Cory Miller & Jay Chapman with Code.org Founder Hadi Partovi & Director McKalyn Danner

So what does that mean?

In short, it means that Code.org is providing funding and tools to help us expand access to computer science education in Oklahoma. The Div will be able to offer professional development and full course curriculum to local educators and school districts at no cost to them. Teachers have the opportunity to attend a national training conference in summer 2017, participate in 4 local trainings throughout the school year and join a supportive community of likeminded educators. We’ll be offering curriculum and training for Computer Science Discoveries (grades 7-9) and Computer Science Principles (high school, AP). But we can also make connections for teachers who wish to implement Computer Science Fundamentals in their elementary school classes. You can check out our full media release here.

Computer science drives innovation throughout the US economy, but it remains marginalized throughout K-12 education.

A quick look at computer science in Oklahoma

  • Oklahoma currently has nearly 2,000 open computing jobs (2.8 times the average demand rate in Oklahoma).
  • The average salary for a computing occupation in OK is $68,598, which is significantly hirer than the average salary in the state ($41,820).
  • Only 411 computer science computer science graduates in 2014, only 18% were female
  • Only 206 high school students in Oklahoma took the AP Computer Science exam in 2015; only 24% were female; only 26 were Hispanic; only 15 were black; only 7 were Native American.
  • Only 25 schools in Oklahoma (8% of OK schools with AP programs) offered the AP computer science course in 2014-2015. There are fewer AP exams taken in computer science than in any other STEM subject area.

The Div does The White House

As part of this partnership, The Div had the opportunity last week to travel to Washington DC for training and to convene and connect with other computer science education advocates. Our Board President Cory Miller, who also founded local technology company iThemes, was invited to speak at an event hosted by The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. He shared with the cohort about why businesses like his are dedicated to supporting, advocating for and funding work in this area.

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Board members Cory Miller and Jay Chapman with Executive Director McKalyn Danner in Washington DC

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Code.org Cohort of Professional Learning Partners from across the US

Professional Development for Computer Science Educators

We’re over the moon excited, because this partnership will allow us to expand our reach exponentially. We’ll continue to offer youth camps forever, because it’s important to provide as much technology access as possible. But we know that when you are able reach 1 teacher, you’re actually touching around 127 students a year. This partnership allows us to impact even more Oklahomans with the life-changing skills that computer science teaches.

Teacher applications open in January. Educators can use the links below to learn more about the specific courses and receive updates about the program, or email any questions to The Div directly at info@thediv.org.

Computer Science Discoveries:       Learn more about curriculum        Apply for professional learning

AP Computer Science Principles:   Learn more about curriculum         Apply for professional learning

How you can help

Our Code.org funding is for a short time only. We need champions to help us grow and sustain this important work. Your support has a direct impact on education in Oklahoma, and a direct impact on changing young lives forever. Click the button below to donate now.

Donate Now

Reviving The Div

We’ve got big news, and we’re excited to share it. It is our pleasure to tell you that after a brief hiatus, we are relaunching The Div with more excitement than ever!

Though the formal operations have been on standby, our heart for the mission never wavered. We knew we wanted to continue to make an impact locally and beyond, so we kept our 501c3 status current in hopes of someday relaunching stronger than ever before.

Now we’re back, and we’re going to impact kids and technology in full force with new leadership and a focus on the Div Jr. program.

We’ve asked McKalyn Danner to lead the charge as The Div’s new director. McKalyn started her career in economic development at the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber and for the past two years she’s served as director of events and communications at United Way of Central Oklahoma. When we started thinking about reviving The Div, McKalyn was top of mind for our board members. She has an incredible combination of experience, passion and commitment that will lend itself to great things ahead for The Div and for our community.

Since the Div Jr. program was one of the most impactful things we did as an organization, this time around we’ll be focusing on kids camps that will help young people learn to think creatively, reason systematically and work collaboratively – skills that are vital in building the next generation of the tech workforce in Oklahoma.

We have big dreams for getting kids excited about STEM education and bringing tech programming to those who might not otherwise have access. We’re looking forward to the opportunity to help young people learn, embrace and excel in careers in the technology field. Initial learning opportunities will be centered around Scratch, a visual coding language that provides a stepping stone to the more advanced world of computer programming.

No great thing can be done alone, and we still need your help. You can play a part in making tech accessible for the next generation. We need volunteers, trainers, sponsors and supporters because it’s the generosity of people like you that ultimately powers The Div.

Sign up here to teach, volunteer or sponsor a future kids camp or click here to donate to The Div.

We’re working to host the first Div Jr. event in the next couple of months. To stay in the loop and get the latest on scheduling, fill out our interest form here and connect with us on Twitter and Facebook. You can also read more in our media release

P.S. — It’s important to note and also thank Lindsey Miller, my lovely wife, but also our first director…without her passion, love, intelligence and tireless work, we could not enjoy the progress we’ve made so far. Div Jr. was her idea and you should expect to see her around, volunteering and helping her great friend, McKalyn, in her new role to impact the next generation of Oklahoma kids.

Our One Year Anniversary & My Feelings of Appreciation

As we are coming up on the 1 year anniversary of The Div opening and our successful launch and focus of Div Jr. I have a lot of people that I want to thank publicly. And this is probably much overdue. I know I can’t mention everyone by name. But trust me when I say, if you have volunteered, sent an encouraging email, attended a class or event, then I appreciate you. I am thankful to everyone who has been through our doors at The Div.

First and foremost to Cory Miller, Scott Day and Jay Chapman. You all believed in our dream of The Div and not only supported with your wisdom but you are the reason why The Div exists. Your financial support really made this happen and truly has made a huge impact on our state.

There are so many people who have volunteered time and expertise to help others in the web tech and entrepreneurial spaces. Thank you all for volunteering with our little start up and taking a chance to help us. Darrell Darnell, Sandip Patel, Howard Haines, Lorraine Grula, Chris Dodds, James Frazier, James Smith, Tim Priebe, Sarah Mason Sears, Jay Martin, Mike Koehler and so so many more. I appreciate you all helping bring attention to The Div and giving so much of your time and knowledge to help others.

The Div could not have survived without everyday volunteers like Lynn Dye. Lynn not only gave me a day a week for months, but she is still available all the time. You may have seen her helping hand out sandwiches at the grand opening, being available during numerous classes to open and close The Div, or staying after to help me clean up. Without Lynn so many of our classes wouldn’t have happened, or they wouldn’t have been so easy on me! Also, I would be remiss not to mention Kris Rush. Kris found The Div when she was starting her own project, but quickly started sending others our way. She supported us financially and through so many encouraging emails. Thank you Kris!

I would also like to show appreciation to my DivTerns: Elise Alley and Janell Carpenter. They brought so much to our program including knowledge that you all needed. It was so wonderful to have you two with me and help answer all of the questions I knew nothing about.

Many other Oklahoma tech evangelists were also imperative to so much of what we do. Luke Crouch in Tulsa and Jesse Harlin you guys are amazing. You were always the first to spread the word about our programs and offer much needed insight. I am so happy that I met you both and am happy to consider you my friends.

I cannot forget one of our biggest champions from the beginning, Christy Sooter. She saw The Div before anyone else. When there was no furniture and I was working on a fold out table and chair. Christy has been a true advocate for all that we have done at The Div and has given some of the best advice. Christy, you have been an invaluable part of what we have accomplished over the last year and I cannot thank you enough for all of your effort.

The iThemes Crew. Everyone at iThemes has been such a great help to what we were doing at The Div, you attended classes, taught some and were always there to help. I appreciate you all so much! A special thanks to Matt Danner who was basically at my door every time I needed anything. He was my tech support and furniture fixer, Matt you are the best. I have to mention Cory Miller again too, not only is he one of our founders and my husband, he was one of my best volunteers. He lead some of the best classes we ever offered at The Div and was always there when I needed him. Thank you so much for you help, encouragement and support Cory.

Thank you to all of our sponsors and donors. The financial support we have received over the last year leaves me so grateful. So many individuals and local tech companies answered our calls to help financially. Our programs were better because of your support and going forward Div Jr. will exist because of your continued generosity.

The Oklahoma Tech scene is growing so much and without everyone involved in our community we would not have the opportunity we do with Div Jr. It is such an amazing experience to be in one of the camps that we have done and see the lightbulbs going off in all their little minds. They are energetic and enthusiastic about what they are learning in Div Jr. and it is truly an honor to be a part of it. Without our larger community Div Jr. could not exist and for that I thank you all.

Go here to learn more about Div Jr.

Furniture For Sale

If you have been in The Div over the last year you know that we have really cool furniture from IKEA. Now that we are going mobile we will not have a need for all of our furniture. If you are interested in purchasing any of our furniture here is the list.

Don’t forget it is still tax-deductible!

6 1/2 foot table 16 available, white, dimensions: Length: 78 3/4 ” Width: 23 5/8 ” Height: 29 1/8 ”  $40

Desk Chairs, 63 available, black and silver $20

Leather Chairs 2 available, black $60

Dining Table, seat 4, white, 3 available: $100

Dining Chairs, 4 light blue, 4 white available: $20

Red chairs, 2 available,  $170

Loveseats, 2 available, black slip covers: $350

Coffee Maker, commercial $150

Bookshelves, 2 available, Dimensions: Width: 58 5/8 ” Depth: 15 3/8 ” Height: 58 5/8 “$130

 

Our New Focus and Pivot

Last year, when the idea for what we know now as The Div, Inc., came to fruition with our grand opening in August, our board founders approached it like any other business venture.

Our plan was to throw a couple of good solid ideas up on the wall we thought might work and see what stuck.

We — the founders and our respective companies, Digimedia and iThemes — would also put our money (as well as time and energy) where our heart was, which meant committing one year of budget donations to it (which includes a salary, legal fees, rent, Internet, electricity, etc).

I think all of those who were involved or came through the doors understand what kind of investment that was for us to fund a nonprofit like The Div as we’ve heard “thank you” over and over and over throughout the past year from the community.

But our focus from the beginning though has been two-fold:

1. Build up the web tech community in Oklahoma.

We’ve made big strides in helping do that in Oklahoma City. As I’ve said to some of the community leaders doing great things in OKC, it takes ALL of us working together to build and shape Oklahoma as a tech hub we all know it can be (from the web tech companies here to the new startup acceelerators, coworking spaces, city and state governments and organizations, and most importantly the people working in this field).

But I think we all realize we’re still at the ground level of building that community, attitude, people and infrastructure here.

Like everything, it simply takes time and won’t happen overnight.

But we’ve seen some impressive impact for our work …. as of April 2012, we had held well over 120 classes and events and had over 1,000 participants through our doors, including user groups like the OKC JavaScript User Group who averages between 50-70 people each month, among many other groups who use the space at no cost.

Not to mention all the amazing people we’ve met through the work of The Div who see this vision and want to help make it a reality!

Which leads me to our second focus ….

2. Inspire the next generation to seek careers or businesses in the web tech industry.

Part of building a tech culture and hub here is having the qualified, passionate PEOPLE to start businesses, or work in them to build the products and services to offer customers.

Although I love my home state and want to help make it famous for web tech innovation, a vital part of that is inspiring and training the next generation of people who will do just that … and THIS is what gets ALL of us excited.

And that’s where our important pivot with The Div is going next … focusing almost exclusively on the next generation.

Thus, our board has decided to refocus The Div on our kids program, Div Jr.

Last weekend we held our first Div Jr. event called Scratch Camp with the hope of many more, and we have another already in the works.

Div Jr. is where we’ve seen the most energy, responsiveness and commitment from others (like sponsors and volunteers) who will ultimately make it happen. Lindsey has been working with a number of potential sponsor/donors to host Div Jr. events as well as fund them and are excited at the opportunities we’ve got to really knock this out of the park and hit our mission head-on.

We have two very promising opportunities with organizations that have great computer labs already in place so that we can offer these events for children who do not have access to their own computer equipment. (One of the most expensive fundraising elements for Div Jr. we were faced with is getting a computer lab so this is HUGE.)

WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN FOR THE DIV?

  • We will continue to keep The Div, Inc., as a 501c3 nonprofit foundation open for Div Jr. as well as future opportunities, meaning donations will be tax deductible as they have been in the past. LIndsey along with help from the community worked tireless to get that status so we could build the nonprofit.
  • As of Aug. 1, we will be vacating the physical space at 1712 S. Kelly Ave and go “mobile.” Meaning we’ll go where the host facilities are. Sadly, although we love having the physical space for user groups, classes and events, it is simply more overhead that could be going to the kid’s program.
  • Lindsey will transition from full-time executive director to a volunteer. Again, less overhead means future donations (and sponsorships) go directly to giving trainers stipends, spreading the word, and other resources for kid’s events.
  • We still need your help. We have acknowledged from the beginning that we can’t do it alone. If Div Jr. is to continue as we hope it will, we need volunteers, trainers and sponsor / donors.

Sign up to volunteer, train and donate here for Div Jr. 

I’m sure you might have other questions or ideas, please let us know.

We are super excited about this important focus and pivot for The Div and look forward to sharing the impact the Div Jr. program has in the future!

Color Me Rad 5K July 14th in Oklahoma City

Last week I was talking to some friends over at iThemes about the Color Me Rad 5K that is happening in Oklahoma City July 14th. We immediately decided that we needed to participate.

We started a team, and after some negotiating (to run the whole time or not?) got a team put together.

I immediately noticed the tone from the organizers from Color Me Rad was fun and energetic. They also choose to give back to local charities where they do their races! Who wouldn’t love that?!?

As I am sure you all know, there is no better charity than Div Jr. 🙂 So, I emailed the wonderful people at Color Me Rad and asked if we could work together. They immediately replied and gave us a Promo Code that can be used for 10% off anyone in Oklahoma City wanting to participate!

If you want to run, walk, jog, skip, whatever in one of the funnest races around and help Div Jr., then this is your chance!

Use Color Me Rad Promo Code THEDIVJR and you will simultaneously receive 10% off your registration and donate to Div Jr. 

You can even join the team we put together. Team name: iRad and captain name: Miller

 

Div Jr. Scratch Camp-STEM Education June 2012

Scratch Camp, the first event as part of our new Div Jr. kid’s program, is specifically designed  for parents and kids entering grades 3rd thru 8th. Scratch camp will be June 8th and 9th. We anticipate that Div Jr. will not only spark an interest in web based technology, but will also encourage the children to seek more education and potential careers in web based tech.

What is Scratch

Scratch is a programming language developed by the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab. Scratch makes it easy for children to create their own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art — and share these creations on the web. As young people create and share Scratch projects, they learn important mathematical and computational ideas, while also learning to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively.

  • Dates: Friday June 8, 5 – 8 pm and Saturday June 9, 9 am to 3 pm
  • Participants: 10 student/parent pairs (20 total participants)
  • Student age requirements: for students entering 3rd grade through 8th grade
  • Technology: none required, but student/parent teams can bring their own laptop with Scratch software pre-installed (it’s free and Mac/Windows compatibile) Laptops and headsets with microphones will be provided for student/parent teams needing them
  • Fees: $150 registration fee per pair. There are scholarships available
  • Location: The Div in Edmond (1712 S. Kelly Ave. – south of 15th and Kelly, east side of Kelly)

If you would like to fill out an application please go here.

Scratch Camp is only one part of the Div Jr. Kids Program. 

We are actively seeking individuals, businesses and organizations who can financially help us create and continue our kids programs. If you are interested in being a financial sponsor, please use this form to contact Lindsey Miller.

Creating Your Why Statement: LifeDev

Cory Miller, from iThemes one of The Div’s founding companies has started a LIfeDev project. Thursday, April 19th from noon-1:00 p.m. he will be at The Div

This is from Cory’s Making Waves Campaign website:

As part of LifeDev, April’s theme will be “Defining and Achieving Success.”

One of the first learning events we have scheduled is “Determining Your WHY Statement” taught by veteran business leader and coach Michael Smith of iMentorLeaders.com on Thursday, April 19 from Noon-1 p.m. Central Standard Time.

Michael will talk about creating WHY statements — kind of a short, memorable personal mission statement for yourself or your organization. It’s an 8-word statement with a Verb, Target and Outcome.

My personal statement for iThemes is: Lead our tribes to go far together.

I’m really excited about this class I personally have benefited from his training and expertise as we retain his services for iThemes ongoing leadership development. Michael knows his stuff and this particular subject has helped me hone in what I do for our organization.

RSVP to attend in person:

Real World IT Security for Small Businesses

June 27th Noon - 1:00pm

Goodbye Community Collaboration Days

We are 8 months into our little experiment that is called The Div. One of my personal favorite events that we have held is Community Collaboration Days. It has happened every Thursday from 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. since we opened. We have had many Thursdays were The Div was filled with people looking to network, connect and talk about projects. We have other Thursdays where I was sitting alone waiting very patiently for all of you to come through the doors and talk to me!

We are focused on making an impact and want to ensure we’re putting our time and resources into maximizing our impact in the web tech community in Oklahoma.

Thus we have decided to cancel our weekly Thursday Community Collaboration Days for now. As of March 26, 2012 we have discontinued Community Collaboration Days. If you have a special need or events, please let me know and we can make special arrangements with advance notice. The Div is still open by appointment and during all of our scheduled class and event times.

But let me say we have some great plans and projects for The Div coming soon! One of these exciting projects is a Div Jr. program. I will have more information for you in the next few weeks, but here is a quick synopsis: We want to have a kids camp this summer. There will be two classes of 20 students (12-15 age group). One in the morning for a webdesign class and the afternoon for gaming production. Doesn’t that sound amazing?!?

I am currently putting my full-time attention towards our other projects including Div Jr. and raising the necessary funds to make it happen. Thus, I am currently trying to find headline sponsors. Those companies and individuals willing to donate $5,000 or more to help us make this happen. We need instructors, curriculum, snacks, computers and marketing. I am also looking for sponsors for individual kids. You can sponsor a child for $250 and allow them to attend our camp for free!

If you are interested in getting more details about our sponsorship opportunities please let me know.

While we are talking about sponsorships. If you want to donate any amount to The Div, we will forever be grateful. We cannot continue any of our projects without our communities financial support. I hope you will consider a donation of any amount to The Div today and help us continue our work.

So, goodbye Community Collaboration Day, but hello to Div Jr!! 

The Div is back from a successful SXSW

We had a great time at SXSW (South By Southwest) this year. Oklahoma has truly put their money where there mouth is, so to speak, when it comes to promoting technology in our great state.

If you did not know, I was asked to head up the interactive committee for SXSW for The Buffalo Lounge. What is The Buffalo Lounge? It is more than just SXSW they actually do events and promote local music and film year round. However, during the epic film/interactive/music festival in Austin every year it transforms. Members of The Greater OKC Chamber, The Film and Music Office and Travelok.com put months of work into promoting Oklahoma at this festival. Abby Kurin, Julie Porter and Josh O’Brien are the leaders of this endeavor. They spend months planning the execution of The Buffalo Lounge for the one week it exists.

The Div was able to serve as a sponsor for The Buffalo Lounge. The first two hours we heard from technology companies and startups in our state. They were able to pitch us their products. It was absolutely amazing to see all of the innovative, creative talent we have. We heard from CCEW, New Spin 360, ONEsite, MadeByWheat and Quibids. After each of these comapanies showcased what they were working on, the party started! There was a live band ready for rock-aroke!

We were able to use our time networking with other Oklahomans and catching up with old business friends from around the world. The great thing about SXSW is that you are constantly meeting new people, new connections who will be your friend for years to come.

Here is a gallery of pictures from SXSW this year. Enjoy! Let me know if you made it to The Buffalo Lounge and what you thought in the comments section.