New program schools teachers on computer coding

Hawaii teachers enhance skills by learning to code

KANEOHE, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - This summer, Hawaii's educators are being taught to write software code during a four-day crash course at Castle High School.

The goal?

To get teachers to a point where they can program self-driving toy cars.

On Friday, Castle High School math teacher Michael Nakashima got the opportunity to take what he learned in the workshop to students.

"This affords me the opportunity to be more than just a teacher in the front of the room telling them what I know," Nakashima said. "Now I can be the teacher in the front of the room showing them what I learned."

"Giving students a method to break down a word problem so they are not so afraid of it, so they are not so intimidated by it, will help a lot of students with their anxieties dealing with critical thinking tasks in a math class or in any content class," Nakashima said.

Nick Sibert, a recent Castle High School graduate, has an autonomous car that easily rounds a small circular course in a classroom, but he says it didn't always work so well.

"I had to first learn moving forward and then turning," Sibert said. "You're given a problem, but first you have got to go step-by-step of how to go through that problem," said Sibert.

The program has even caught the eye of Hawaii's School Superintendent Christina Kishimoto.

"Teaching problem solving and being able to break it down into parts is a critical teaching skill that is going to help students be successful," Kishimoto said. "Computer science and technology are used across every field of study."

The cars, and curriculum are provided to public school teachers thanks to a partnership between Kamehameha Schools and OceanIt, a company that applies science to real-world applications.

Their goal is to eventually teach 500 Hawaii teachers to code every year.

"We don't know what the jobs of the future are going to be," said Stacy Clayton with Kamehameha Schools. "We want to make sure that our keiki are prepared and that they have the skills to be literate and competent in a technology world."

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