Concord teacher takes coding, technology lessons on the road in N.H.

  • Vybe Software President Mitch Marchand answers questions from fifth graders in Sunapee last week.

  • Heather Drolet helps Jeremy Golubiewski (right) and other fifth-grade students learn how to make an app using DevKit on their iPads at Sunapee Central Elementary School in Sunapee on March 29, 2018. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Fifth-grade students, including Giacobbi Lambert, learn how to make an app using DevKit on their iPads with help from Heather Drolet and Mitch Marchand at Sunapee Central Elementary School in Sunapee on March 29, 2018. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Heather Drolet helps fifth-graders learn how to make an app using DevKit on their iPads at Sunapee Central Elementary School last week. Elizabeth Frantz photos / Monitor staff

  • Fifth graders including Ayla Royce (center), learn how to make an app using DevKit on their iPads with help from Heather Drolet and Mitch Marchand at Sunapee Central Elementary School in Sunapee on March 29, 2018. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Vybe Software president Mitch Marchand helps fifth-grade students learn how to make an app using DevKit on their iPads at Sunapee Central Elementary School in Sunapee on March 29, 2018. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • FROM LEFT: Fifth-grade students including Ellie Miner, Samantha Bonfiglio-Eaves and Hennisee Buchanan-Perrone learn how to make an app using DevKit on their iPads with help from Heather Drolet and Mitch Marchand at Sunapee Central Elementary School in Sunapee on March 29, 2018. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Mitch Marchand (left) and Heather Drolet take questions from fifth graders after the students learned how to make an app using DevKit on their iPads at Sunapee Central Elementary School in Sunapee on March 29, 2018. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 4/5/2018 4:47:47 PM

Heather Drolet had a question for the fifth-graders who sat ready with their tablets in their second-ever computer coding lesson.

“Let me ask you this, is there more than one way to solve a math problem?” she asked.

“We used a tool before called Thunkable to make an app. We’re going to use a tool today called DevKit to make an app,” she continued. “So you’re going to be flexible learners, flexible coders, learning a completely different tool to make an iPad app again.”

A few months earlier, Drolet had visited the Sunapee Central Elementary School students, part of the 2017-18 Christa McAuliffe Sabbatical she was awarded last year by the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation. She’s traveled to schools around the state and met more than 700 students across New Hampshire so far. She will hit about 30 classrooms total by the end of the academic year.

“It’s been such a great opportunity for me,” she said. “I’ve been able to visit so many different schools and just see the diversity we have in New Hampshire with how we approach education, and it’s just been a lot of fun.”

The sabbatical has also led to a partnership with Vybe Software President Mitch Marchand, the developer of DevKit, an iOS app that assists users in building their own applications. Like Drolet, Marchand has been visiting classrooms to educate students about coding.

“The first thing that I noticed when building it was the educational value,” Marchand, 23, said about the DevKit app he created as a college junior.

Drolet noticed the value for students, too.

“His goals are really close to my own as far as wanting to get kids at a younger age interested in computer science,” Drolet said.

Together, the two introduced DevKit to Sunapee Central, a school that uses iPads, which are required for the program, as opposed to Android or Windows tablets.

“The awesome thing about this opportunity is you have the creator of that app in the room with you telling you how to do it,” Drolet said to the students before they created their own random word generator.

This summer, Drolet and Marchand will team up again before Drolet returns to her role as technology integrator at Christa McAuliffe School in Concord.

Vybe Software is putting on a number of weeklong DevKit summer camps, including a girls-only camp at NHTI in Concord, which Drolet will help run.

“I feel great about having her on board,” Marchand said. “She’s definitely a hero in this space.”

(Elizabeth Frantz can be reached at 369-3333, efrantz@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @lizfrantz.)




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