Lily Gentner

Teaching

Overview

1:1 online coding lessons, specifically for kids (ages 6+), and designed to foster the skills I discuss below. No coding experience is required, but students should probably feel comfortable with basic reading, typing, and arithmetic. I'll likely to expand to group lessons in the future.

About Me: I have experience tutoring, mentoring new software engineers, and leading an after-school science program for primary-school kids. I studied Statistics and Computer Science at Harvard University, and I worked as a software engineer at Square and Uber for 4 years. You can find more information here.

Reach out via email (lfgentner@gmail.com) to set up an introductory meeting or to clarify any additional questions.

Program Structure and Specifics

Students will start by learning the fundamentals — data types, data collections, variables, functions, conditional logic, and loops — in a robust, language agnostic way. We'll do this at a pace adjusted for each student's age and experience, using 3 general strategies:

From there, lessons will focus on problem-solving skills and more advanced programming concepts using a combination of a student-led project (a game, a website, a simulation, etc.) and more abstract problems or discussions (implementing a search algorithm, weighing tradeoffs of different approaches, etc.). Each lesson will look a little bit different, but this mix of narrow and open-ended problems will help prepare students for a wide range of future projects and studies.

FAQ

Why should kids learn to code?

Learning to code comes with a lot of wonderful, highly-emphasized, economic opportunities. These get the most attention, but they shouldn't be the top priority for kids. More important, but relatively ignored, are the ways that coding teaches you how to think and therefore how to learn.

My goal isn't to generate job-ready kids or to fill up their future resumes. It's to develop habits and confidence that will lead to a lifetime of clear thinking, curiosity, and enthusiasm about learning. I've written more about these habits, and why coding is a good way to practice them, here: [Why Learn to Code?] .

What language will you use?

With the right amount of guidance and a thoughtful structure, "real code" can be accessible for kids of all ages. Skipping the typical "coding for kids" tools sets the tone that students are fully capable of solving the hard problems that they'll inevitably encounter. This also allows us to work on a wider array of projects, tailored to students' interests.

To avoid the setup challenges that often deter beginners, lessons are taught in JavaScript by default. But as much as possible, I'll present concepts in a language-agnostic way and only use the essential features. If your student has experience with another language, we can easily use that instead.