WordCamp Philly Panel Discussion with Code Differently
William Jackson, M.Ed.
WordCamp Philly https://philadelphia.wordcamp.org/2020/
held it’s conference virtually this year because of the pandemic.
All technology conferences have moved online globally including
those that host youth, teens and young adults.
This did not dampen the importance of the panel discussion on
“Code Differently” https://www.facebook.com/codedifferently/
a program that exposes youth, teens and young adults to coding
and web development based on the WordPress platform that
manages 38% of all web sites globally. The Coding Differently
session/code-differently-learning-wordpress/ represented young
adults that are creative, innovative and represented that many
times young adults of color and culture are not exposed to
learning opportunities in technology.
The wonderful thing about this program based in the state of
Delaware is that it works with young people that are in
under-represented and underserved communities of Black,
Brown and Hispanic backgrounds that are less likely to be exposed
to careers in web development, graphic design, coding and
entrepreneurial areas, similar to the demographics Jacksonville’s
Black, Brown and Hispanic communities face.
Future careers are headed in coding, web development and graphic
design. Technology statistics from the Department of Labor shares
that 80% of future careers even those not created yet will have some
element of STEM, STEAM, STREAM and coding. Youth of all cultures
must have access to learning in STREAM areas of Science Technology
Reading Engineering Arts Math.
The panel moderated by William Jackson a teacher with
Duval County Public School System teaching STEM at Twin
Lakes Academy Middle School and the instructor of the Code
Differently program instructor Courtney Richardson a certified
WordPress instructor along with the students that participated
in Code Differently: Learning WordPress: Bianca Ross,
Raven Brooks, Lizbeth Guadarrama, Kahliel Nichols, DJ
They shared their experiences expressing that young adults
of all backgrounds need to be exposed to STREAM and areas
of coding and web design. Shared by Kahliel a college freshman,
parents should encourage their children to attend workshops
to learn coding and web development and conferences like
WordCamp and KidsCamp to learn how to network and meet
Black, Brown and Hispanic youth cannot wait until high school
to start learning, they need to be exposed in elementary and
middle school. DJ a 11th grader said he faced challenges in the
program because of his lack of knowledge and exposure to
careers in technology, this is a vital program for Black and Brown
boys and girls because it helps them gain a better education and
create better career options for the future.
The young ladies of the group Raven, Lizbeth and Bianca
shared similar expressions for girls that are Black, Brown
and Hispanic should look at careers also in web development,
graphic design and coding because of the chances to have their
own businesses and to be better able to support themselves
and establish financial security by going back to school for
The young people on the panel graduated high school and are
attending college except for DJ, he is in the 11th grade and does
plan to attend college in an area of computer science. DJ stated if
it was not for the Code Differently program he may not have
considered attending college and majoring in computer science.
This program has changed his life and can change the live of other
Black, Brown and Hispanic youth. Business motivation and inspiration
was provided from watching videos of WordCamp speakers like local
Jacksonville resident Aid Correa, LoveBuilt Life, LLC, author, artist
and speaker locally, nationally and internationally;
Her presentation “A Seat at the Table” is recognized and respected
across the WordPress community.
In Jacksonville, Florida Magnet schools that have similar
educational programs, the youth, teens and young adults
would benefit greatly if there were community based programs
that teach these important areas and paid the youth and
young adults to attend as is done in the Code Differently
program. More needs to be done outside of the classroom
and in the communities for Black, Brown and Hispanic
areas, just as in the movie “Black Panther” youth, teens and
young adults are the future innovators and creators.
Their talents, skills and dreams must be respected and
provided a foundation to build on. WordPress Central
where WordCamp conferences are listed globally
https://central.wordcamp.org/ parents are encouraged to
allow their children to attend and even attend themselves.
The pandemic has shown that technology knowledge is
important to function in a world of digital change, social
media tools and platforms and the development of voice
technologies from companies like Create My Voice that
provides the ability for blogs to be read.
The continuous changes, adaptations, modifications and
development of technology requires constant learning
and digital innovation. WordCamp, KidsCamp and the
WordPress Meetups virtually are there to support business
and personal growth.