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Archive for Div Jr. – Page 2

Coding With Kids: K-5 Educator Workshop

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With the recent relaunch of The Div and our renewed commitment to our children’s program, I’m totally on board with anything that increases opportunities for kids to engage with technology, especially when the ultimate goal is to teach them to become makers, not just users.

Code Studio is Code.org’s open-source learning platform designed to teach students the basics of computer science, starting as early as kindergarten. Kids can use Code Studio on their own, or when it’s taught in the classroom. The curriculum is outstanding and educators are given all the tools they could possibly need to help their students grasp the concepts.

Code.org also offers free, one-day professional development workshops to help K-5 teachers and administrators integrate the system into their classrooms. I had the opportunity to attend one of those workshops this week. It was held at the OU’s College of Education and taught by Adam Carr, a code.org trained affiliate and technology instructor at Bridge Creek High School in Bridge Creek, Oklahoma.

The workshop was so interesting and engaging and I walked away with a ton of new knowledge on how to make computer science education fun for little learners.  The coolest part of this experience, for me, was learning about “unplugged” activities that make learning computer science basics truly accessible to kids of all ages and in all types of situations. We learned graph paper programming and made binary bracelets that represented our initials. The unplugged activities also make the lessons easier to grasp once you do get online. Some of them are even recommended for kids as young as 4-5 years old!

If you’re an educator interested in professional development, you can check to see if a course is being offered soon in your area or complete the training online.

Speaking of Code.org, the annual Hour of Code event is next month! Held during Computer Science Education Week, December 7-13, the Hour of Code is a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify code and show that anybody can learn the basics.

Code.org teamed up with Disney and Lucasfilm to launch an awesome Star Wars tutorial for Hour of Code 2015. You can do use these tutorials to learn programming skills yourself, share them with your own kids or use them in a classroom setting. To learn more about Hour of Code, visit code.org.  

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.

Div Jr Spring Break Scratch Camp

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. Our next scratch camp will be March 18th. 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: Monday March 18th to Friday March 22nd, 9 am to noon each day
Location: Skyview Elementary School, Yukon (650 S Yukon Pkwy, Yukon, OK 73099)
Registration: $25 per person
Who can attend: Any Oklahoma student in grades 2 – 6 this school year (2nd grade, 3rd grade, 4th grade, 5th grade, or 6th grade) and any Oklahoma teacher in any grade level
Registration capacity: 40
Scratch Camp facilitators: Wesley Fryer and Chris Simon
Both of our facilitators are well versed in Scratch. Wesley Fryer has been the reason why the Div Jr. Scratch Program has been so successful. Wesley is an innovative instructional coach for Common Core” in Yukon Public Schools and Chris is the grade 4/5 STEM teacher at Independence Elementary in Yukon Public Schools.
Please fill out the application to be a part of our Yukon Scratch Camp.

Div Jr. Scratch Camp at OU

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. Our next scratch camp will be September 15th. 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: Saturday September 15th, 9 am to 3 pm
  • Participants: 20 student/parent pairs (40 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: $30 registration fee per pair. There are scholarships available
  • Location: Stephenson Research and Technology Center (101 David L. Boren Blvd. Norman, OK 73072)

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.

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.

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!

Help Us Spread the Word About Div Jr.

Since our announcement of Div Jr. I have been overwhelmed by all the support from our community. I knew when we started Div that we were doing something special for Oklahoma, and our Div Jr. program is already off to a great success.

Many of our friends have reached out to us to show support and lend encouragement. Scratch Camp, our first project to come from Div Jr. is sneaking up on us. We still have spots available for kids interested in this program!

That is where I need your help. Please send this PDF flyer -that can also be attached to an email or just send this link- to anyone you think would be interested: [Download not found]

Post it on Facebook, tweet it out, email it to friends, church groups, schools anyone you can think of. We have more programs planned for this summer, but we need your help spreading the word.

Need help explaining what Scratch is to your friends? Look at these featured projects.

Scratch Camp STEM Education — 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. This class will be June 8th and 9th and led by Wesley Fryer a trained facilitator. Learn more about Scratch Camp or visit the Scratch site. Already convinced to sign up, fill out the application.

Thank you for your time and all of your help with Div Jr.!

Lindsey
P.S. We still need to cover 5 more scholarships for kids entering camp. If you would like to sponsor a child for $150 please visit our donate page.

 

Help Needed for Our New Kid’s Tech Program, Div Jr.

From the beginning, The Div has been intent on inspiring and training the next generation of web tech professionals in Oklahoma.

For us that means reaching and investing in children and helping them embark on a lifelong journey of learning and using web technology that could ultimately blossom into a career, new businesses and, in the process, revolutionize our city and state as well as their own lives forever.

After months of preparation, I’m so excited to announce our new kid’s program called Div Jr. to train kids in web design, development, programming, game development and other unique tech related fields.

[ Full details on Div Jr. are here ]

Our first Div Jr. event will be Scratch Camp on June 8-9, a program started by the MIT Media Lab. It is a programming language that makes it easy for children to create their own interactive stories, animations, games, music and art.

It’s led by Scratch trained facilitator and Div community member Wesley Fryer and we’re super pumped to get Div Jr. off the ground with this first program.

But here’s the deal, we can’t do this alone.

We’ve gotten this far with the generous donations of our founder’s tech companies and the generous donations of other individuals and companies.

But now we really need your help.

We need the Oklahoma tech community to rally to help us get Div Jr. and its impact off the ground and in the air.

We need people to lead other events in your areas of expertise and to pass on your knowledge to the next generation.

We need people, organizations and businesses to donate financially — yes, we’re a 501c3 nonprofit foundation so it’s all tax deductible — to help us continue our programs and do more of these events.

If you’ve benefited from The Div, whether you’ve been to a training class or used the space for a user group meeting, we’re asking you now to step forward and to help in any way you can.

We also ask you to pass this plea along to those you know who can and want to be a part of changing lives and impacting our great city and state with the web tech industry.

Here’s where you can donate today … and where you can signup to help.

As always, I’m here to answer questions. If you’d like to meet to discuss or chat on the phone, I’m happy to do so as this is a very worthwhile goal and program we’ve set out to accomplish.

For the next generation!

P.S. — It also goes without saying that you can help us spread the word to children and parents (as well as schools and media outlets) who may be interested in this first Div Jr. event and subsequent ones. So please send us your contacts or pass along this information to those you think would benefit from the Div Jr. program!

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.

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!!