Next Generation Network Plans Public School Computer Science Instruction

Anita Davis of viNGN teaches computer coding.

The V.I. Next Generation Network is planning to put volunteers in the field to help the territory’s public school teachers with a five-week course in coding and programming.

In a statement issued Wednesday, viNGN officials said public school students do not get as much science, technology and math exposure as students in private schools, putting public school students at a disadvantage professionally.

“With the right skills, any child can grow up to have a global influence,” they said in the statement.

Network staff members will offer their time and expertise freely and voluntarily. The five-week programs will be conducted on St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix. They will test students before and after the course to measure outcomes, witness student growth and focus efforts towards best outcomes. Sessions will last one hour each.

During the sessions, students will learn theory and be immersed in problem-solving, creative and critical tasks, such as coding, engineering, math and art. After four weeks, they will conclude with a public expo to showcase the projects that the students created. The aim is to let the children show themselves what they can do.

At the conclusion of each program, viNGN will grant the instructor the loan of technology that will enable continued use within the classroom. All that will be required will be a brief report to viNGN each semester on how the equipment is being used. They will retrieve unused items if necessary for re-gifting.

“In this way, we will be able to offer the support our teachers need to create programming in their classrooms, without coming out of pocket,” officials said.