On Saturday, June 7, more than 200 students, parents, and educators gathered for an afternoon of games and celebration at Grand Central Tech in Manhattan. Made possible through the generous support of AT&T, the four-hour technology event—dubbed the SEP Showcase—brought together 14 SEP schools from all five boroughs in New York City, where students spent the afternoon sharing with one another their best work in software engineering topics like robotics, physical computing, web design, mobile, and the educational programming language Scratch.
The showcase served as an illuminating experience for all schools involved; possibilities seemed endless as students traded tips and techniques. One 6th grade student from JHS 74 Nathaniel Hawthorne observed, “Everyone at the showcase has done things similar to our school. We’ve all done Arduino, we’ve all done Lego Mindstorms, we’ve all done Scratch. It’s fun to see other people’s projects because we want to see how their school taught them how to use it.”
Marissa Shorenstein, President of AT&T’s New York office, provided inspiring opening remarks in which she underscored the importance of New York City middle and high schoolers learning to create technology. SEP students also heard from game designer and media artist Kaho Abe, who presented a keynote on the wearable technologies she has developed.
In addition to listening to speakers and showing off projects, students participated in maker-inspired games and activities. For example, one activity station invited them to design their own wearable LED cardboard robot heads. The showcase concluded with a brief award ceremony, in which all students present received a one year child/parent dual membership to the New York Transit Museum. The membership included free admission to the Intrepid Sea, Air, & Space Museum and the New York Hall of Science, giving plenty of opportunities to explore and be inspired by the possibilities of software engineering.