Coding w/ Baba J

About Coding With Baba J

This curriculum is part of the BlkRobot Project’s aim to create an environment where technology is not considered a special privilege for Black students or centered solely on video games and cellphones.  At the onset of the pandemic, when classes moved online, our weekend STEM classes were forced to stop and we wanted to develop a long term solution that allowed me to continue to educate students.  We decided to focus on coding, and the “Coding with Baba J” show was born.

This show allows us to leverage established platforms to teach children Javascript and Python programming languages in a manner that is attuned to the needs of Black children.   Children not only get the repetition necessary for learning the foundations of coding, but they learn about Black people who are actually working as programmers, engineers, mathematicians and scientists, providing a cultural connection to the work. Additionally, we decided that we wanted this show to create the same type of fun energy that educational shows on traditional television networks have,  thus we commissioned artists to create cartoon characters who will be my sidekicks and virtual ‘students’ that participate in the show.   Animation, even rudimentary animation like what we are using for this production, requires professional help;  artists, colorists, animators, voice talent are all necessary and none of whom are working for free.  Each episode of the show has a curriculum booklet that students will receive. 

We firmly believe that 21st century education is experiential, and coding is a core skill needed for our youth as they will be entering a workforce where automation could remove up to 375 million jobs.  This project is part of a series of classes that we am building up, and we are thankful those who have provided assistance.