15:54 PM

Why middle and high school will be better this year

Teacher Coding Academy helps Columbus area teachers learn coding so they can teach their students

Franklin County Extension Educators present their app

When students return to school in the Columbus City and South-Western City school districts later this month, new Apple technology will be waiting for them along with teachers who have been trained to teach them how to write computer code.

As part of Apple’s Community Education Initiative, it collaborated with Ohio State’s Digital Flagship and the College of Education and Human Ecology for a week-long Teacher Coding Academy.

The learning initiative brought teachers from the Columbus City Schools, South-Western City Schools and Ohio State University Extension to campus to learn coding by developing an app that solves one of three community challenges: documenting firefighter exposure to chemicals that can cause cancer; matching people to services delivered by nonprofits through the Reeb Avenue Center, and helping residents know more about the Linden Farmers Market, which offers fresh food in a “food desert.”

Educators presented their apps at an app showcase to wrap up the coding academy. Community members and educators listened to the presentations.

Three educators from South-Western City Schools developed an app to help document firefighter exposure to chemicals. Teacher Josh Doran says the coding academy taught him a lot about the potential of Apple products in the classroom.

“What I have learned about what Apple products can do for our students and help them out in the future – it’s amazing, just ... having our kids being able to code on the iPad and having a direct program for them to follow,” Doran said.

Math teacher Mark Colvin is excited about what students can learn during app development.

“I like the app development side of this,” he said. “The community involvement, I think, will be huge in the schools. We’ll be able to get community members in and let our students think more outside of themselves and outside of the school, trying to solve bigger problems than what they face in school.”

Marissa Mulligan and Sue Hogan, OSU Extension educators and 4-H youth development experts for Franklin County, designed an app to help Linden area residents learn about the Linden Farmers Market. The colorful app offered information such as whether vendors take cash or credit, what foods vendors offer, and tips on food storage and recipes.