(Photo by Flickr user Digital Harbor Foundation, used under a Creative Commons license)
A week-long youth web programming experience made a success in Baltimore came to Philadelphia students in November. Hosted by the much championed Digital Harbor Foundation in Charm City in partnership here with the Youthbuild Charter School, the Webslam program puts underserved students in inviting environments to learn essential modern web skills including the basics of HTML, CSS and PHP.
“Webslam is an intensive experience built on self-directed activities. This type of learning isn’t for everyone and it’s not uncommon for people to struggle with these activities.,” said Digital Harbor Executive Director Andrew Coy. “I was most proud when the Youthbuild participants really took ownership of their learning and moved full steam ahead on their personal websites.”
Youthbuild Charter, which helps students earn high school diplomas while learning project-based job skills, was an ideal partner for Digital Harbor, which is a popular leader in youth STEM learning in Baltimore and has wanted to share its work elsewhere, said Shawn Grimes, Digital Harbor’s Director of Technology.
“When students know that what they are learning is an essential and employable skill in the real world, they are more motivated to focus and put in the time to learn the skill,” said Grimes. “That is what Webslam is all about: learning real skills to then put them to use in an intense day long ‘civic hackathon’ for a real world client.”
After skills development during the week of Nov, 18, the program ended with a weekend hackathon where the students used their newly developed skills to create websites for clients. Find some of those projects here.
Students were split into five teams and worked for 12 hours on this project with the help from a tech coach.
“The teamwork, grit and determination that these youths demonstrated on Saturday’s ‘civic hackathon’ was nothing short of inspiring,” said Stephanie Grimes, Director of Curriculum at Digital Harbor. “Each person worked tirelessly to create a website that met their client’s needs…. It was really exciting to see how they were transformed from consumers to creators over the course of just one week.”.
Digital Harbor currently has no upcoming plans for another Webslam in Philly at this time, however Coy has expressed interest in potentially repeating the project in the future.