In February, the United States celebrates Black History Month. This year (2018) dozens of middle and high school students attended a Hack Day at Metro, Atlanta, to commemorate the Month. Students learned about app designing and design thinking, engaged with business and STEM professionals of color, and used design thinking to develop an innovative curriculum around designing apps for social justice.
This hack day was the result of a Computer Science Education Week grant made to Level Playing Field Institute (LPFI) by Infosys Foundation USA. The objective was to help underrepresented students gain increasing access to computer science education.
The hackathon for the young people of color kicked off with LPFI hosts discussing common kinds of conflict in schools and communities in Atlanta, for instance, cyberbullying. Around 70 students participated in the 9-hour coding competition and were guided to work in small groups and apply design thinking to solve social conflict. Over 40 volunteers from industry came together to serve as ‘Idea Coaches’, these included IT professionals, entrepreneurs, teachers, innovators, product managers, and developers. Other tech professionals of color volunteered as tech advisors, mentors, and speakers.