Thursday 11:20 a.m.–11:50 a.m. in Room 25A, Room 25B

Coding as Enrichment: How to Empower Students with Creative Coding Experiences

Wanjun Zhang


My goal is to share resources, pedagogy, best practices and lessons learned in bringing hands-on coding workshops to underserved K-12 students. For fall 2017 over ten weeks, [Code Park Houston](, a a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization piloted a free after-school Creative Coding program at [BakerRipley - Leonel Castillo | BakerRipley]( We focused on **Coding as Enrichment** by encouraging our students to pursue creative endeavors such as storytelling with Minecraft and making procedural art with [p5.js | get started]( Instead of traversing a programming language’s syntax peculiarities, our students drew colorful lines, made interactive buttons, and shared their creations. We also worked to provide a positive and collaborative learning environment. Our students were encouraged to learn by making mistakes and exploring his or her own interests. In the process, we just happened to facilitate knowledge in coding, problem-solving, electronics science and collaboration. When it comes to technology, the arts can be an unusual pathway to success. But we know and see that creativity is the secret sauce that inspires the next generation of diverse and passionate students. This program was a rewarding experience for everyone involved. We faced and overcame many challenges. For the talk I would like to share: **Tools of the Trade** — what software and hardware we used and why. **Classroom Set Up** — how to provide a positive and encouraging learning environment. **Best Practices for Tech Educators** — why we are learning facilitators. **Open Source Creative Coding Curriculum** — open source curriculum to be used in your own classroom!