NewTechKids has wrapped up our computer science and robotics bootcamp for high-potential teens from Amsterdam southeast, a low-income, largely immigrant community. According to one of our teachers, it was “one of the best classes” he’s taught over his seven year career at NewTechKids.

The magic ingredient? The kids themselves. Every Sunday, these kids rode the subway for 25 minutes to the Library, often accompanied by their parents and group mentor. Many came early and they came enthusiastic.

While the computer science concepts we taught are standard, we adjusted the curriculum to make it reflective of their reality and experiences and to present role models they could identify with.

We picked topics based on a variety of criteria:

  1. The familiar: we explored how tech is transforming jobs which their family members and people in their communities have such as hospitality and catering and retail.
  2. The unfamiliar: we discussed industries which they may never have considered in terms of study and career although there are lots of opportunities related to tech such as farming and transportation.
  3. Role models from similar backgrounds: we taught about the rise of Sir Lewis Hamilton, his low-income background and his journey to overcome challenges and develop resilience which has taken him to the top of his sport and led him to now embrace technology

It never gets old to see kids discover that they can design, build and program something based on their own ideas and see it work.

About the third class in, one of the mothers of a girl came to class. She is a single mother of three girls and had to leave school early due to parenthood. She said “I had to come and see the class and what my daughter is making. All she talks about is your class. In fact, she’s now studying at a high school which teaches cooking but says she wants to switch to a tech program.”

We love what we do!

A special thank you to IT company Schuberg Philis for financially supporting this program and doing its part to expand the tech talent pipeline in Amsterdam.