Tech Skills Wanted? Mentors Needed.
Friday, November 06, 2015
Posted by: Nathan Swartzendruber
What's the secret to teaching web development to young people during a
week-long DevCamp? For Nate Stone, Program Coordinator for the ideaLAB,
Denver Public Library's makerspace in the Community Technology Center,
the key doesn't seem to be fast computers or even fun.
The key is mentors. This isn't,
really, a surprise. When you learn from someone who has experience in
the field, you hear answers to important questions like, how will I use
what I'm learning? How can I find help when I get stuck? And other
questions, such as, would I be welcome working in this field? By
recruiting a diverse group of mentors, DevCamp was able to serve a
diverse group of students.
That's a real concern,
considering that at tech companies as prominent as Facebook
workers are mainly male and white. So as Nate was planning to expand
their DevCamp in its second year, he worked to make their program more
diverse. He connected with a couple neighborhood schools that had
reported low graduation rates and with library staff who worked at
branches in those neighborhoods to invite tweens and teens for whom
DevCamp might be a rare opportunity to get ahead.
DevCamp, which teaches HTML, CSS
designed to turn first-time programmers into fully fledged front-end
developers. But they do work on real web projects; where this year they
created websites that addressed issues in their communities, the plan
next year is to build a mini-site for a local non-profit. Programs like
DevCamp are a great example of libraries responding to and serving their
- Nathan Swartzendruber, SWON
Hear Nate Stone talk about DevCamp
At the next Innovation
Conversation, November 12, Nate Stone will share the story of
DevCamp. Now planning for its third year, Nate has lots of details to
share about how DevCamp grew out of patron requests to become a
Want to know more about how he
recruited mentors for the program? Or how much computer programming he
needed to lead the DevCamp? There will be time to ask those questions
and plenty of others during the conversation.
Pat Carterette Professional Development Grant
Applications are now being
accepted for the Pat
Carterette Professional Development Grant, offered by ALA. This
grant awards $1,000 to attend a continuing education event, which can be
used to cover registration, travel, lodging or other expenses. The
application deadline is December 15. Click
here to learn more or submit your application at the
grant's online form.