Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Image

Computer Science Education Week

Happy Computer Science Education Week, everybody! Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek) is an annual program dedicated to inspiring K-12 students to take interest in computer science. Originally conceived by the Computing in the Core coalition, Code.org organizes CSEdWeek as a grassroots campaign supported by 350 partners and 100,000 educators worldwide.

Computer science education is at the heart of everything we’re passionate about here at The Div. We believe that the web opens up vast possibilities with the only limits being initiative and skills paired with a good solid solutions that make life more productive, easier and affordable. The opportunity is out there, but often the skill set isn’t.

Learning computer science helps young people think creatively, reason systematically and work collaboratively– skills that are vital in building the next generation of the tech workforce. But as many as 1 million of the best jobs in America may go unfilled because only 1 in 4 schools across the nation teach computer science.

And it’s not just about every child growing up to be a software engineer or a computer scientist. Technology surrounds us in nearly every part of our lives. Giving kids access to computer science ensures that everyone has an opportunity to become digitally literate.

All week long, we’ll be sharing information and resources to celebrate CS education. To kick things off, check out this video from Code.org.

Holiday Giving Guide

GT_logo2013-final1-1024x85
Happy Giving Tuesday everybody! With the global giving movement taking place today, I wanted to remind everyone that The Div operates on tax deductible donations from supporters like you in order to help kids learn, embrace and excel in technology. We are so grateful to our friends and supporters for believing in what we’re trying to do for the next generation.

With the end of the year fast approaching and holiday generosity in full swing, charitable giving is top of mind right for many of us right now. When my iThemes family asked me to help them develop a list of local organizations who they could support with their Christmas giving initiative, my mind went into overdrive. There are so many deserving nonprofits doing incredible work right here in our little corner of the world!

So instead of a holiday gift guide, I thought I’d share a giving guide. Here are a few local organizations that I’m especially fond of that would be happy recipients of some holiday giving. It’s no secret that we’re passionate about kids around these parts, so many of these organizations serve children and their families.

  • Positive Tomorrows is Oklahoma’s only elementary school especially for homeless children. iThemes chose to support Positive Tomorrows last year and the team absolutely loved getting to learn about all of the unique ways this innovative school serves a very special group of kiddos.
  • Heartline operates a suicide prevention line, a gambling hotline and perhaps most notably, answers the 211 line in our area. 211 is an information and referral line for any health and human service needs. It’s sort of like 911 for social services. 
  • Sunbeam Family Services is one of Oklahoma’s oldest nonprofit organizations, having been around for more than 100 years. Dedicated to providing the highest quality of care for the poor and working poor in our community, they offer programs all the way from cradle to cane- Counseling, Early Childhood Education, Foster Care and Senior Services.
  • ReMerge is a comprehensive female diversion program designed to reunite families by transforming pregnant women and mothers facing incarceration into productive citizens in order to interrupt the cycle of intergenerational incarceration and poverty. Especially important here in Oklahoma, with a number one ranking in female incarceration per capita despite an average crime rate.

If you’ve known us for long, you know that our founding board member Cory Miller is passionate about mental health and speaks publicly and candidly about his own experiences. Since it’s a topic near and dear to us, I thought I’d also highlight a few nonprofits with an exclusive focus on mental health.

  • Mental Health Association Oklahoma is a statewide agency dedicated to promoting mental health, preventing mental disorders and achieving victory over mental illness through advocacy, education, research, service and housing. In Oklahoma City, they offer a peer-run drop in center where people can socialize, relax, participate in their own growth and development and find encouragement and hope.
  • Calm Waters understands that loss can bring on turbulent and frightening times for children and teenagers. They’re a support center for children and families whose lives have been changed by death, divorce or other major loss.

And since we’re obviously all about anything that helps to build the tech community here in Oklahoma, you should also check out the good folks over at Techlahoma, who support OK’s technologists, usergroups and conferences through mentoring, finances and training.

Whew! These are just a few of the amazing nonprofits doing really impactful work in our area and there are so many more I could list. Did I miss your favorite…local or otherwise? Share it in the comments!

Shop to Support The Div

Ready or not, we’ve officially entered the holiday season. Whether you’re buying presents for the family or just stocking up on toothpaste, now it’s easy to support The Div while you shop. 

amazonsmile

Amazon Smile is a simple and automatic way for you to support your favorite charities while you shop. Use it and Amazon will give The Div o.5% of the total purchase price of whatever you’re buying. You shop. Amazon gives. It’s easy!

To shop at AmazonSmile simply go to smile.amazon.com and select The Div as your charity of choice. Once you pick The Div, Amazon will start donating a portion of your purchase price each time you shop through Amazon Smile. That’s it!

It’s the exact same Amazon shopping experience you’re used to, complete with Prime shipping (if you’re as addicted to that as we are around here), but now you can shop and support the advancement of kids in tech at the same time.

Cyber Monday sales, anyone?

 

Coding With Kids: K-5 Educator Workshop

CODE_logo_RGB

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.

May 2013 Tornadoes: How Can We Help?

Like so many others in Oklahoma (and around the world), we watched the live coverage of the tornadoes that ripped through our state this week … and then in disbelief have seen the photos and videos and heard the stories of some of those who lost homes and lives.

Most of us are asking, “What can I do?”

In fact many ARE asking us how they can help, from offering hotel points to money and other things.

These people don’t care about tax-deductible donations … they just want their help to directly impact the people who are hurting and we want to help facilitate that.

If you know someone affected by the recent tornadoes, please let us know below in the comments … specifically their names, their story and how we can help directly.

Also, if you’re already doing something for victims, please let us know how we can contribute to what you’re already doing!

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.

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