An understanding of “what’s under the hood” is important, according to Andrew O’Leary,director of Federal and State Funded Programs for the New Bedford schools.
“When we scratch the surface, we see they don’t really understand the code,” which is used to create the programs they use, said O’Leary,
In an effort to change that, Bristol Community College and UMass Dartmouth have partnered with the city’s schools to offer a summer program where 8th and 9th graders will use the Bootstrap World curriculum that teaches algebra and computer science concepts to design videogames.
“Students will be able to create their own programs,” he said.
O’Leary said the public schools applied for a state-funded grant and received $40,000 to serve between 30 and 35 students.
The program will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for four weeks, and students will receive breakfast and lunch, he said.
O’Leary said there is also an element of “college readiness” to the summer program, as students will get a visit of BCC and UMass Dartmouth campuses and will work in their labs.
Elizabeth Donovan, an assistant professor of mathematics at BCC who will probably be working with the students said there are many open STEM positions (science technology, engineering, math), but not enough people to fill those positions.
Donovan said people do choose to study those subjects, but don’t always make it all the way to getting their degrees.
Asked why that happens, Donovan said, “maybe persistence, the higher the degree the longer it takes… the harder it gets in some cases.”