Top Things I Learned from Working at CyberLaunch Academy
I was given the opportunity to work for CyberLaunch Academy in the first year of my second degree. I had just graduated with a Bachelor of Science in biology and was just starting my Bachelor of Computer Science. I was introduced to computer science through friends and family and realized the field was a possibility for me.
Before I started working at CyberLaunch in November of 2017, I had never worked with children before. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I remember being a child, however, the mental connection to my feelings I had when I was a child is gone. It is as though it were a different life. Therefore, when I was given the opportunity to be an instructor for CyberLaunch, I went in blindly. I was excited, but I also wasn’t sure how the children would react to me, but I was pleasantly surprised. Here are the top five things I learned while working at CyberLaunch Academy:
- Children are more willing to learn than I thought, especially if you give them a reason to. I saw how excited children can get over technology and solving puzzles. I saw children collaborating with each other and having fun.
- Children get frustrated, but they usually just need help. Learning different technologies, especially coding can be difficult. Children may get upset or angry but I have learned that they generally just need a nudge in the right direction to get them back on track.
- Children look up to their teachers. I realized that to the children I was not only a supposed authority figure but a potential role model. They looked to me for help, or even just to tell me they completed a task. Having the children excited to tell me about something they had accomplished was a great reward to me.
- Exposing children to technology is important. Seeing the children get excited to code, so much so that a lot them would even work on their projects at home in their spare time, which was very great to see. It really made me feel as though I was making a difference.
- Children need encouragement. I learned that children need to be praised when they do well and guided when they are stuck. Helping a child through a problem is like solving a problem in itself. It takes effort and some thinking, but helping them through it and seeing them smile when they figure something out is very rewarding.
Overall, CyberLaunch showed me that I, as an adult, am not so different from children after all. We all have wants and needs and get upset if we cannot meet them. Additionally, I saw the potential for how a program like CyberLaunch can be life-altering. Before I was exposed to computer science through friends and family, I didn’t even think of it as a possibility when I was choosing my education. I now see the importance of early exposure to technology. Furthermore, I see the importance of having role models in STEM fields. Both of these things may cause a child to consider many potential career paths they may have never thought of before.
To learn more about CyberLaunch Academy:
Bridgette Jessome is a Computer Science student, from the University of New Brunswick, currently doing a co-op term with CyberNB.
CyberNB is a Special Operating Agency of Opportunities NB.