As the coronavirus sweeps across the country, keeping people indoors, one teacher hopes her free animation and coding lessons can help kids and adults stave off boredom and learn a new skill.
Stephanie Sutton has always worked in technology, in one way or another. She worked in consulting, helping companies nationwide set up systems like email networks in the 1990s and early 2000s, before eventually going out on her own to teach tech lessons that are “fun and relatable.”
In years past, she has taught coding or animation to teachers, who then used lessons in classrooms, or directly to people in places like libraries. Over the past several months, Sutton moved much of her teaching online, creating a YouTube channel and website, Easy Codes for Kids.
Now that the coronavirus pandemic has hit, Sutton is creating daily challenges for YouTube and her website, giving step-by-step instructions for things like how to create a circle using HTML code or an e-card to send to your far-away friends and family.
“It is a marathon,” Sutton said of the daily videos. In her packed house (a husband, four kids, two dogs, one cat), Sutton said she still manages to wake up each morning and record.
Sutton said she finds inspiration for her lessons and challenges from day-to-day life, particularly how her kids use social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram. For example, her Sunday video teaches how to create an overlay on a photo, similar to filters on Snapchat and Instagram.
Sutton’s lessons are not just for kids. A self-described “code evangelist,” Sutton wants adults to know that messages can apply to them too.
“It’s just steps,” she said. “It’s just following certain steps and you can learn to code. If you have a passion, you can make videos or a webpage about it, and maybe even someday you can monetize it.”
“[Coding] could lead to a new career choice, or even just an idea of which classes someone would want to take in high school,” Sutton said. “I have a large international audience who watches my videos too, and this is my one way of reaching out to say, ‘Hang in there; better days are ahead, and while you’re passing the time, you can learn a new skill set.’”
Sutton said she is open to suggestions or “guest challengers” during her coronavirus daily challenge program. If you are interested, you can send an email to [email protected].
Jane Morice | [email protected]