Codio's Jade Nair: Bringing Impactful CS Education to Her Community

12:00 AM on August 21, 2020 | K12 computer science programming

This summer, a new class of bright-minded interns joined our team. Ranging from 15 to 22 years old, each works closely with our Education and Product teams to further develop Codio’s teaching resources and improve the overall user experience.

Jade Nair, a member of Codio’s 2020 class of interns, has been recognized by CNBC as a HomeGROWn Hero  for the impact she is making in her community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Outside of her work here at Codio, Jade is spreading her passion for computer science by working with Andover Youth Services (AYS) to teach programming to young students using the Codio platform (provided to AYS by Codio at no cost).

When COVID-19 started to show a significant impact on her community, Jade knew she wanted to find some way to help. In our highly virtual world, she found the perfect opportunity to teach Python coding to 8th and 9th-grade students. What began as teaching just a handful of students virtually, expanded into an entire program with the help of AYS.

With the help of 15 additional instructors from the robotics club Jade is involved in, she and AYS were able to offer four different month-long summer courses to kids in the Andover area. This group of ambitious instructors includes Michael Peng, a 2019 Codio intern, who worked with our Education and Product teams to develop auto-graded assessments for our assessments library. Michael joined the effort to serve as a mentor with AYS and teaches Python and Java. Michael worked with Jade to oversee the curricula for the programming courses taught to AYS students.

Using the Codio platform, they have delivered courses in Python and Java, while also offering Web Design and Computer-aided Design (CAD) classes.

Jade knew that each student needed to be able to fully grasp the basic concepts of programming, so she dedicated additional time after class to help them excel. Each course was run in separate breakout rooms to allow students more time with the teaching assistants. This model lowered the barrier to entry for the AYS students and allowed instructors to meet students where they are in their skills.

“I’m so glad I had the opportunity to lead this initiative because we were successful in both helping kids find intellectual stimulation at home and exposing them to programming in a fun way,” said Jade. “As someone who started programming in my freshman year of high school, I always wished I had started earlier, and being able to spark that interest in about 60 middle-schoolers across all the programs I started was great.

“In particular, Codio was awesome for us. When you’re teaching virtually, going through software installation processes is a headache, and you can’t look over kids’ shoulders to see their progress. Codio’s interactive web-based interface, where we could provide an installation-free place to program and see students process in real-time, solved both problems. It was the most helpful tool we could have had!”

When reflecting on how his internship with Codio was able to impact the AYS program, Michael Peng had this to say, “My time at Codio in 2019 really enhanced the experience of students and mentors at AYS. Back in April, I nominated Codio to Jade as an ideal platform for remote programming instruction, and it delivers. With my experience writing guides and assessments for Codio's Global Assessments Library, modifying the existing curricula for middle-school students was a breeze, and the student onboarding process in each class section was effortless. Moreover, the Global Assessments Library's focus on auto-grading enabled me to write more helpful code tests that automatically offer personalized guidance to students. The internship brought me much more confidence and trust with Codio as a platform, transforming the way our students learn and experiment.”

While using the Codio platform, the group has gotten to interact with Codio’s features, including new ones rolled out during their program. There was much excitement in help sessions with the release of Cursor Presence, which allowed students to see where their instructors were working in their code.

It’s inspiring to see how Jade, Michael, and AYS have been able to make an impact on young students through this program!

Megan McHugh

Megan is a Marketing Manager at Codio. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and a Master of Arts in Integrated Marketing Communications.