Pathfinders Summer Institute Educator Highlight: Brittani Gordon
“Tynker has opened it up to where anyone can learn to code. That is so powerful to me. If you can learn how to code, you can teach how to code.”
For one week every year, educators gather from around the country at Infosys Foundation USA’s Pathfinders Institute. The Foundation’s mission is to inspire students and educators to become creators of technology, and the Pathfinders Institute is a one-week program that gives educators hands-on professional development in Computer Science and Making. From training that they can apply in their classroom to new friendships, the activities at the Institute give educators the chance to learn new skills in a fun, collaborative environment. This year, Tynker went to Pathfinders to help teachers learn how they can teach their students to code. We met so many inspiring educators who are going to take coding back to their schools. One of those teachers was Brittani Gordon—a teacher who learned how to code and now is excited about sharing this knowledge with her students.
After years of working in the corporate world, Brittani took a teaching job at a high school before transitioning to 2nd grade, where she felt she could make a bigger impact. She’s excited about bringing coding to her classroom: “The great part about it is that we can implement it right away.” Among her plans for introducing coding are the game Simon Says, where students learn that computers follow precise instructions. She’s also hoping to use tools like the Tynker micro:bit courses, iPads, and Spheros. She expects that her students will be enthusiastic about Tynker, as they love technology and hands-on learning experiences.
Brittani teaches in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, at a Title 1 school in an area that faces high incarceration rates. She feels that teaching students how to code can help them envision a better future for themselves. Speaking of coding skills, she explained, “Our kids are going to be left behind if they don’t learn these skills.” As they learn to code, Brittani’s students will not only prepare themselves for career options but also develop the problem solving and critical thinking skills they need to succeed in an ever-changing world. We’re so proud of teachers like Brittani who are going above and beyond to prepare their students for the future!
This year, 450 United States-based teachers gathered at Indiana University Bloomington to learn cutting-edge Computer Science and Making skills to take back to their classrooms. Tynker was invited to participate, and Brittani Gordon is just one of the teachers we met at Pathfinders who inspired us with her dedication to her students. We’re honored to have participated in a program that especially helps teachers who work at Title 1 and high poverty schools, because every student should have the opportunity to learn critical skills like computer science.
Brittani is gathering funds to provide her students with a Makey Makey STEM Pack and Spheros! If you would like to support her, visit her page at DonorChoose.org.