Since 2013, AccelerateKID®’s core mission of “Empowering Youth with Entrepreneurship and Tech Ed to become Future Innovators” has been foundational for its success and growth.
Going into its fifth year and having taught over 10,000 students, AccelerateKID®’s believed it was time to share its proven instructing methodology and passion for entrepreneurship with the world by creating its first handbook for teachers and educators.
The Creating Future Creators handbook was co-authored by Thanh Tran and Nicholas Carter. As the owner of AccelerateKID®, Thanh describes himself as a “serial entrepreneur” from Detroit. He holds a Master of Science degree in electrical engineering from Michigan State University in East Lansing. He has spoken at the HOPE Global Forums on Youth Entrepreneurship, is on the board of directors of the National Entrepreneurs Association and chairs the iTEAM Programming for Oakland Schools Technical Campuses in Oakland County. Thanh also founded and is executive director of the Accelerate4KIDS Foundation, a nonprofit 501c3, which provide computer science education and scholarships to youth in underserved communities.
Nicholas Carter was born in Detroit and has a passion for video game and computer programming. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science from Grand Valley State University in Allendale. He is currently developing a personal online game and works as a senior technologist and technical writer at AccelerateKID®.
Chapters in Creating Future Creators are divided into three main components: a narrative section, a section with practical exercises and a bridge between the two sections.
The story follows Noelle Jackson, a math teacher who moves back home to Detroit and is tasked with coaching a Java after-school coding club to compete in a local hackathon. This story provides a natural, easy-to-read introduction to technical concepts. The exercises included in the book cover all steps of programming in Java, from planning a project with a team to debugging errors in a program.
The exercises are styled after the questions in AP placement exams, with the AP Computer Science Principles using multiple choice questions, and the AP Computer Science A questions being more open-ended and requiring written code. The bridges between these two sections demonstrate specific and realistic actions that an instructor can take with their students in order to demonstrate or practice the techniques used in that chapter.
The book is intended for those who do not have prior technical experience. This method has been utilized at AccelerateKID® with varying programming languages and schools, and has seen success with students from elementary to middle school. The results have shown improvement with chronic absenteeism and 21st-century skills including creative and critical thinking, problem solving, teamwork and public speaking.
The book is specialized to work with middle schoolers in a pre-AP program. The authors believe that the principles and techniques developed within Noelle’s journey are tools that can work in any school demographics and environment. After completing the book, readers will be able to understand how computers work and develop programs that that they can design themselves. They wrote the book in appreciation of teachers, believing that teaching is not only a skill, but an art.
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