AGL 018: The Hour of Code, visit Code.org for more information

Yesterday I gave a talk for the South Carolina iSTEM group at Saluda Trail Middle School. It was exciting to speak to teachers. Teachers that are working towards bettering the education experience. If you don’t know what STEM is, its an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education. I spoke on the Hour of Code, which is an initiative from Code.org to get students to learn an hour of code (or coding) this week. The Hour of Code is backed by Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Apple and many other big named players in the tech space. I was honored to be able to speak for 2 hours on the subject. Some of the highlights of my talk include:

Over coming the fear of getting started. Its hard to teach coding, when you don’t code. But understand that if you’re authentic, and put forth the effort, your students will get it. The goal isn’t to have your students leave as expert coders, but to have them leave confident in themselves and hopefully, with some insight into what Coding really is.

Dispelling misconceptions of coders. People think that all programmers do is code. That’s so far from the truth. There’s a great deal of other skills needed, including communication (both written and oral), creativity, math, research, etc. There is also a thought that all coders are introverted. I had my team take a personality test a few months back and shockingly, 100% of my team are extroverts. That’s right, 100%. There is also a misconception that coders like to be locked away in a dungeon to pound out code… some do, but not all. There is also a misconception that coders are middle aged white guys. Far from the truth. My team includes people from Hispanic descent, African Americans, females and white males. Diversity is important for teams to get different input and perspectives.

I also talked about the benefits of understanding coding at an early age. How it helps develop critical thinking skills, creativity, confidence and problem solving skills. Our athletes start learning their craft when they are very young. My 5-year-old started both soccer and basketball at age 3. But the people that write code to keep our airplanes in the sky, our medical equipment functioning, and our military systems armed don’t start learning their craft until college?? Really? Something seems wrong here. I believe that coding should be taught along side Math, English, Social Studies as a core course for all k-12 schools. Imagine if those graduating college with a computer science degree already had 16 years of coding under their belt. The things they could do would be amazing.

I hope all teachers out there participate in the hour of code for your schools, and those that aren’t teachers, but work in technology should donate some time, help a school out or setup your own workshop to assist during the hour of code.

For more information about the hour of code, check out code.org.

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December 10, 2015

AGL 018: The Hour of Code, visit Code.org for more information

Yesterday I gave a talk for the South Carolina iSTEM group at Saluda Trail Middle School. It was exciting to speak to teachers. Teachers that are working towards bettering the education experience. If you don’t know what STEM is, its an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education. I spoke on the Hour of Code, which is an initiative from Code.org to get students to learn an hour of code (or coding) this week. The Hour of Code is backed by Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Apple and many other big named players in the tech space. I was honored to […]
November 24, 2015

AGL 017: Being Brave, leading in spite of fear and anxiety.

In order to be a leader, you must be brave.  I’ve focused on leadership for many years now, and my wife even says I focus on it too much sometimes J. I see countless people that have so much potential for leadership, but have never stepped out and gave it shot due to fear. Now Fear isn’t always bad.  There are good fears too.  For example, I’m afraid of snakes.  God gave me that fear so that I don’t get bit by one of those suckers and die.  That’s a healthy fear, at least I tell myself it is.  Okay, […]
November 18, 2015

AGL 016: Hiring the right people; 3 tips from Richard Branson, and some from me.

As I’ve said before, I’m reading Richard Branson’s book, The Virgin Way.  This book is full of amazing nuggets of greatness.  There’s a whole section on hiring the right people, which, is where these three rules come from.  I’ll be adding in some of my own tips at the end. Don’t Delegate, Do it yourself. Hiring is important.  So much so that you can’t always trust others to hire the right people.  I’ve found that many times when interviewing someone, I just get a “feeling” whether they will fit in or not.  Our company has full-time recruiters to help us […]
November 13, 2015

AGL 015: How to get Lucky. Improve your luck with daily work.

Below are some things you can do to improve your luck.  I hope you enjoy this episode and please leave me a review in iTunes to help spread the word. 1. Go to where the luck is. – People get lucky when they are in the right place at the right time.  The more often you’re in the right place, which is something you can totally control, the more likely that you’ll be there, when the right time comes. Make sure you’re working hard and going where the opportunities live. 2. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. – […]
November 10, 2015

AGL 014: Public Speaking, 7 tips to get you started

  A lot of time people confuse being a good speaker with being a good leader.  They aren’t related, but usually, with a little practice, you can become a good speaker, just like with practice you can become a good leader.  It does help your influence if you’re a good speaker, whether you’re speaking at meetups, conferences, or just to a small team in a conference room. To see some of the best speeches or talks, check out TED.com Know your subject.  Be sure you are an expert on the topic you are presenting… Bear in mind that an expert […]
November 4, 2015

AGL 013: Leading through a crisis – 10 takeaways

Things aren’t always going to be good as a leader.  As a leader we must learn to lead in the good times and in the bad.  Leading through a crisis is just a fact that will come along with being a technical leader.  I recently was able to both witness a good leader lead through a crisis and be the leader in a different crisis.  I want to share a few things that I took away from it. Stay Calm. The best way to lead in a crisis is to stay calm. I try to tell my team that no […]