Camp C-Block Introduces Blockchain Technology to Black Girls

As Tom Vander Ark shared in his post, How Blockchain Will Transform Credentialing (and Education), “Blockchain will end paper based certificates, automate the award, recognition and transfer of credits, increase learner ownership and control over their own data, reduce institutional data costs and risk but only if open standards are adopted.” Unfortunately, while many may know the word Blockchain, there is a big information gap when it comes to understanding what it is and how it will affect our lives (myself included). One group, Project Bitmobile, is working to address this gap.

Over the course of the next six-months, Project Bitmobile will tour the country in an RV providing introductions to the field of blockchain technology and to the possibilities of cryptocurrencies. The aim of Project Bitmobile is to provide real-life introductions to blockchain technology and to empower women and girls in this emerging technical field. The goal is to also investigate the commonplace understanding of bitcoin and blockchain technology and increase awareness of the possibilities of blockchain technology and crypto assets.

One way Project Bitmobile is introducing people to this space is by educating young girls in coding and blockchain through week or day-long programs. These programs will take place during the summer of 2018 or as an after-school program this upcoming fall.

C-Block, which stands for Conscious Coding and Cryptography, is an example of one of these programs. The first C-Block Camp kicked off last week in Durham, North Carolina with the hope to educate, inform, and inspire young women in the fields of coding, cyber security, cryptography and blockchain technology . Similarly to Black Girls Code, Jen Hill, Founder of Project Bitmobile and Lead Experience Designer at C-Block, saw a great need for providing access and opportunities to black girls and youth to learn about these types of technologies.

C-Block is free to the girls and is being offered to 6th and 7th graders from the Durham-Raleigh area. Jen Hill shared that from scan of the research and experience as a Director at local STEM school, that if middle school aged girls get hands-on experience with STEM, they are more likely to pursue STEM as field of study or career.

Project Bitmobile was inspired by Pierce Freelon’s Blackspace, a digital makerspace for Black and Brown youth in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Blackspace hosted the first Camp C-Block. Blackspace offers local youth a breathing space to create, cultivate and manifest their dreams by any medium necessary. Culturally relevant STEAM curriculum is at the core of the Blackspace programs, which are designed to instill traits of self-efficacy and self-worth that allow our youth to build the skills they need to succeed. Their ‘wokeshops’ (conscious workshops) include:

  • Open Studio, Digital Storytelling
  • Poetry Writing and Performance
  • Conscious Coding
  • Hip-Hop Production

We stopped by Blackspace during the inaugural C-Block program to see what the girls were up to and talk to their parents. One parent shared that her daughter was very nervous about the camp, but couldn’t stop talking about it after the first day and couldn’t wait to come back. At the end of the first day of camp, when the girls shared their highs and lows, they all said they were challenged by coding and were excited to learn more.

In addition to programs and camps, Project Bitmobile will also conduct pedestrian interviews and surveying in cities across North American and will demonstrate how cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin are made, with an on-board mining rig.

Bitcoin Magazine is the media sponsor of this project and will be featuring the camps and interviews every week on their website. Project Bitmobile was founded by Jen Hill, former Summer Programs Director at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM). Please contact her for more information at [email protected] and @bitmobilerv

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Emily Liebtag

Emily Liebtag, Ed.D., is Education Reimagined's Senior Partner for Systems Transformation. Formerly, Emily served as the Vice President of Advocacy at Getting Smart.

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