Kelsey Derringer and Matt Chilbert are co-founders of CodeJoy, producing live, interactive, online shows that give kids live control of their cardboard robots, all from a studio in Pittsburgh. In doing so, they are creating a new, fresh fusion of education and entertainment through an interactive medium.
Make: Tell us about yourself, and why you launched CodeJoy.
Kelsey Derringer: I’m an educator who started out as a middle and high school English teacher, not a STEM teacher at all. And I’ve taught all kinds of things: ballet, summer camp programs — I even taught at a zoo! But when I moved here to Pittsburgh 7 years ago, I started teaching for an afterschool STEM education program for fourth through eighth grade girls with the Carnegie Science Center and the YWCA. I got introduced to coding and robotics because I was asked to teach it as part of this program. My initial reaction was, “I can’t do that. I don’t know how to do robots.” And I didn’t really receive much training with it. But I was shocked — despite their initial reluctance, I saw how much the girls really gravitated towards the creativity aspect of robotics.
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