Feedback & Support Commentary

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  • Arie E. Kaufman, PhD, Stony Brook University, Department of Computer Science, Department Chairman and Distinguished Professor
    "As one of the top 20 computer science departments in the nation based on student outcomes and research, the Department fully commits to assisting kidOYO in making educational opportunities in computer science available to as many students as possible. Lets teach every student 4 - 104 how to code." Letter of Support (pdf)

  • George R. Meadows, EdD, University of Mary Washington, Professor of Science & Makerspace-In-Education Pioneer, College of Education
    "I’ve had the opportunity to work with Devon and Melora in a number of educational settings and each time I’m more impressed with the knowledge and skills they bring to STEM teaching and learning. They have expertise in a number of areas such as programming, the design process, the educational use of online gaming, and they are always quick to recognize the potential of new technology and bring the most valuable aspects of that tech into their curriculum. I’ve been amazed by how quickly they recognized the educational value of emerging technology such as the MaKey MaKey or e-textiles and brought that tech into a workshop or class. I’d also highlight the positive and encouraging nature of their interactions with their students, especially their ability to implement the idea of “failing forward”, a necessary component for helping students really understand the nature of the “silent E” in STEM, engineering."

  • Jacqueline Grennon-Brooks, Ed.D, Hofstra University, Professor, Department of Teaching, Literacy and Leadership, Director, Institute for the Development of Education in the Advanced Sciences, Director, Secondary Science Education
    "You have become my "gold standard" for electronic learning!!" Letter of Support (pdf)

  • Scott Elchenko, Principal, Hartwood Elementary School
    "KidOYO is the perfect complement to any school or organization looking to train and prepare its workforce and students for our increasingly complex, 21st century environment. KidOYO supports Hartwood's professional staff development and vision of becoming a nationally recognizable STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) school site. The facilitators knowledge of progressive adult learning needs and responsiveness to learning new and emerging technologies was exactly what my staff was looking for. We are excited to have formed this partnership, and together, we will better prepare students for a life in a globally interconnected world where collaboration, creativity, and innovative thinking is valued!"

  • Alan Marcus, Parent, Manhasset School District, Head of ICT Agenda/Executive Committee/Sr. Director, World Economic Forum
    "As an early Internet engineer and now as a global public policy wonk, I was impressed with what I observed in the few hours I was at your program. First, I can see how you are getting them excited to want to programme. And of course getting them to understand basic logic design I am sure is challenging, but I can see that they get it, with the programmes they create. As one who took too much discrete mathematics and logic design, it is not exciting until it is put to practise.

    From the Internet side, one of the most important architectural principals is its bottom democratised governance. I am finding it difficult to persuade world leaders how important it is to ensure they get what they believe their citizens need. What I observed in your class was a very clear set of questions on how they will govern themselves on Minecraft. Asking what actions were acceptable and what consequences they were willing to support. And I especially liked when Devon was questioning there idea of consequences. Making sure they understood what the outcome would be. Did it meet their vision for the action? Or did it create unintended consequences? It both challenged their thinking and allowed them to challenge each other.

    I also observed many were helping each other in a real community spirit sort of way. Although I am sure there is some exclusive competitiveness between them, what I observed was more open source competitiveness. When one kid came upon something interesting in his or her idea, and others agreed it was cool, the person shared it and helped all of them move forward. These are important lessons for how the real market has evolved, and certainly how even proprietary companies like Apple, work as teams inside. When I was in University, we did not really learn to think this way. It wasn’t until I became involved with the early Internet gurus that I developed this appreciation. And this made a huge difference in my own career. I still remember my first IETF meeting.

    I am pleased with my son's progress. Both Emma and I are encouraging him to push himself further. Of course an 8 year old has many distractions, but he is eager to continue. I am hoping to see more of his creative side merging here. He loves art and appears to have some talent. He also is starting to enjoy music, as he is now learning piano. We will give him some encouragement to look to combine these talents of his. Perhaps add music to his programmes. Perhaps sketch out a few scenes he would like to see in a game and learn how to bring the sketches to life digitally. I think your approach can help him get there, particularly focusing on collaboration.

    Thank you for allowing me to observe, and thank you for bringing your skills and talent to these kids."

  • Maria Brown, MS, PWS, New York State Master Teacher, Sayville High School - Science Research Teacher, Stony Brook University - Lecturer of Sustainability Studies
    "We look forward to working with you on this innovative project as it will play an important role in preparing our students with the necessary skills for the future work force" Letter of Support (pdf)

  • Elliott Sperlazza, Developer & Mentor - Red Hat, Inc.
    "Devon and the kidOYO team have been instrumental in starting the FredxCoders community. Devon's rock solid lessons have helped excite students by realizing they can be coders while also encouraging new mentors that they can successfully engage students by sharing their knowledge. He has also brought a lot of vision and experience to get buy-in not only from students and parents but also community members so that our Dojo will have all the tools it needs to be a success."

  • Brandon Feldkamp, Developer & Mentor - Red Hat, Inc.
    "I first spoke with Devon regarding the creation of the FredxCoders community and almost immediately I could sense his passion and devotion in teaching kids computer science. He has been relentless in his efforts to obtain support and interest for the community, without him the community would not have expanded as fast as it has. Devon's passion extends much further than FredxCoders as he is constantly pushing computer-oriented programs for kids in all facets of their lives, whether its a club that meets every month, a week long summer camp or classes taught during school. It has been a pleasure to work with Devon so far and he has a lot to offer through his programs with kidOYO."

  • Paul Mannarino, Stony Brook University Student, Computer Science Major, kidOYO Mentor
    "I really wanted to emphasize how much I enjoy being a part of kidOYO and actually having a mutually beneficial relationship with it. At least 2 times during the first week of summer camp I've been driving to SBU at 7:30am and caught myself thinking about camp and would just stop and laugh, thinking to myself, 'I love doing this.' The kids are a bit crazy but I've always wanted a younger sibling and now I have a handful. All day I code, hang out with kids, talk and share ideas with other students in my major, play Minecraft, help other kids discover their interest in something I also love... the list of reasons goes on as to why I don't see this as a job and really as a membership to an awesome club of sorts. Also you guys are the bomb and are great leaders in the way that I feel as if we're all in this together discovering how to teach the kids better, rather than 'sit down and do your work exactly like this'. Bottom line, thank you and I immensely appreciate the opportunity and really hope to be a part of kidOYO for as long as I can."

  • Michael Davola, Adjunct Professor, Technology for Learning, Hofstra University, kidOYO Mentor
    "Through my years of education, I have learned a lot about learning theory and execution of classroom instruction. kidOYO's work around Long Island has shown mastery teaching strategies; offering interactive and engaging activities that encourage students to be their best, increase their interest level, and expand their knowledge of technology and coding, by showing them the practical uses and applications." Letter of Support (pdf)

  • Terrie L. Cagle, Principal, Livingston Elementary School
    "Both Devon and Melora are amazing at working with students. They model and expect a high level of engagement and mutual respect in every session. Students devote every minute of the day to their task. We hope to offer more extensive programs through kidOYO, and to make these opportunities available to all of our students."

  • Lori Lenz, SCOPE/Gifted Resource Teacher
    "Devon and Melora are a dynamic duo! We hosted a one day Robotics program at Courtland Elementary School on Friday, April 13, 2012 for twenty-one students in grades one through four. The publicity and registration process were handled efficiently. The behind the scenes work was accomplished to ensure that the technology would be ready for our young builders and thinkers. In his opening remarks to the students, Devon set the tone for a wonderful day of learning and inquiry. Devon assured the students that they would experience failure at some point during the day and that failure should be celebrated as a slight bump on the road to success. The activities were open–ended so that students progressed at different rates and different levels of complexity. The students were actively engaged in meaningful tasks all day long. There was an atmosphere of friendly competition. Devon and Melora exude passion for fostering critical thinking skills and collaboration. They also modeled problem solving, which is a crucial skill for surviving and thriving. Their high level of professionalism was evident in all aspects of the program. A follow–up survey was distributed to all of the participants. 100% of the surveys returned indicated that this was a positive learning experience and that the students are interested in similar programs in the future. We hope to offer more programs through kidOYO. Grant money could open the doors to expanding programs and ensuring accessibility for many deserving students."

  • LeeAnne Bergquist, Parent, Smith Station Elementary School
    "My kids LOVED the Minecraft Dojo experience. They are so excited to do it again. I thought my daughter would last an hour and a half tops, and she was there until the end. Thank you so much. I'll be sure to tell the school how much my son enjoys/learns from these programs. He really wants to do every kidOYO program that comes his way."

  • Linda Scarth, Parent - Three Villages School District
    "My son has participated in the kidOYO Minecraft Dojo, Maker Dojo on Saturdays and week long Maker Camp in the summer. I can not say enough wonderful things about Melora and Devon and the programs they run! My son seems to have "woken up" from a long sleep of regular learning experiences! This hands on approach really lets him explore the materials, come up with experiments or solutions to problems and test them in a supportive, risk free environment. I am so happy he is able to have these experiences; especially since the common core curriculum has pushed most of the hands on learning experiences out of the schools."

  • Christine Fena, Parent, Sachem School District
    "I just wanted to let you know that my son has been just loving having access to his website all summer. Thanks so much for creating the OYOclass program and the kidOYO camp. He loved every minute of it! He's been trying to keep a blog on his website. He also made a page called 'my book', on which he put links to every page of his book that he wrote in 3rd grade. He hasn't figured out how to put the images themselves on the page yet, so he just made links. He finished his comic (after accidentally deleting the whole thing...that was a tough lesson!) He's even decided to start a page for his sister. It's such a wonderful gift for him! We just wanted to let you know that he is getting so much out of practicing html; he's been using W3Schools all summer to know what to do. (And I'm learning from him too!)"

  • Joanne Harvey, Parent, Home School Student
    "Your classes have touched my son and impacted him incredibly; we think he's found his future vocation! Melora, he thinks you're an excellent teacher, firm when you need to be, clear in your instructions and he respects how you're both sharing your knowledge with everyone. And Devon, you couldn't be nicer. You and your class have made a lasting impact on my son. Every day he can't wait to work on his projects-- I have to make sure he does his schoolwork first--or he would spend all day (and night) coding! He's even asked if I can get him resources from the library on Java and Python that he can teach himself over the summer. After receiving your e-mail tonight I showed it to him, he was so thrilled, he really wants to go to your camp! He's very excited he will be able to continue coding and use his LEGO inventions and stop-motion-animation skills-- he is eager to participate in the variety of learning adventures you will be introducing in camp! We really want to continue to foster his fascination with coding. Thank you for taking an interest in our son, you are teaching him what we cannot. Please know you have made an incredible, indelible impression on my son and changed his world! For this we sincerely thank you."

  • Alyson FitzPatrick, Parent, Manhasset School District
    "I wanted to thank you guys SO SO much for talking to the our kids during the last class about Internet safety and responsibility. It really made an impression on the kids. They were talking about digital footprints, etc. and were very serious about it. Thank you so much. I really appreciate that you guys did that."

  • Rita D, Parent, Exceptional Student
    "My son had a big smile on his face when he saw my husband and seemed to be quite happy with himself and the class. We see also a new found confidence in himself that he didn't have before. I can see that just going to kidOYO makes him feel more mature and I think he is finding that he may be able to find a comfort level for himself in handling situations on his own. There has been so much progress for my son in ways that seemed to be unimaginable at the beginning of the summer. I'm glad we gave this program a try."

  • Moira Chas, Parent, Three Villages School District
    "I'd like to thank you once more for the great week my daughter had at the camp. The last day of class, we walked back to the car with her friend, and both girls explained to me almost jumping up and down with excitement what they have learned. I found this doubly amazing: not only they learned technology, but they did it in such an engaging way. They claimed that they learned more in that week than in a whole month of school! Both girls are registered again for the fall course (they begged us to be registered)."

  • Joe Goldberg, Parent, Bethpage School District
    "My daughter is in 4th grade. We have her enrolled in a Saturday computer programming program with kidOYO taking place at Long Island University. This is an amazing program where she has learned the Scratch programming language, is currently learning HTML and CSS and has gotten to play with hardware maker equipment like Makey Makey, Arduino, and 3D Printers. They have built an entire development and instructional environment online that kids can use to get tutorials, sandbox environments to build and test their code, and a fully moderated community bulletin board to post questions and share ideas and collaboratively work. Over the summer program she will be working as part of an entrepreneurial team to create a hardware and software project and bring it to market, simulated of course. And in the fall she will be able to move up to the next group where she will be learning Python and Java. She really wants to be able to learn Java so she can write Minecraft MODs. The kidOYO folks are trying to branch out and start working with school districts. They are starting with some pilot districts (Mineola to start). They have a whole plan to integrate programming into any and all facets of education. It really is a fantastic program and one that I think would benefit every district."

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