The Behind The Scenes Heroes of COVID-19

When a tragedy strikes, it often brings out the best in humanity.  Health care workers, first-responders, grocery-store workers, food-pantry volunteers, truck drivers, teachers and many more are on the front-lines helping us get through this pandemic.  What is talked about less are the behind the scenes coders, IT professionals, and creative problem-solvers using their skills to fight COVID-19.  Below are just a few examples.

Coders are currently volunteering their time to use available data to create models and visualizations to track the spread of Coronavirus.  These models will then be used to make predictions and decisions on how to stop the virus in its tracks. (Andrej Kovačević).

According to Catherine Shu, programmers in Taiwan helped prevent the spread of the Coronavirus in their country despite how close they are to China, the center of the outbreak.  Coders created a city-wide alert system with maps to warn people about places (hot-zones) they should stay away from due to confirmed cases of the virus.   They then created an application that allowed people to find which pharmacies had masks to prevent hoarding, making sure everyone had access to this important item. 

Coders and web developers are helping small businesses shift their operations to online.  Programmers have worked with restaurants to create more user-friendly online menus to help them increase their online food/pickup orders.  Web-designers are also volunteering their time to help businesses create and improve their websites to make the transition to online selling. (Natasha Mascarenhas)

WhyHunger, an organization dedicated to helping people find food has teamed up with programmers to create an interactive map that helps individuals and families find free meals when they are in need. (Ken Mingis)

Coders and other IT professionals  will continue to be critical in the fight against COVID-19. When we face an unprecedented challenge, it takes all kinds of heroes with varying abilities and talents to overcome it.

Resources

How Programmers Can Lend a Hand To Help Fight COVID-19 by Andrej Kovačević

Codementor launches Code Against COVID-19 to match volunteers with software projects by Catherine Shu

Tech for good during COVID-19: Pivots and partnerships to help people deal by Natasha Mascarenhas

Tech pitches in to fight COVID-19 pandemic by Ken Mingis

About the author: Shawn D. Walk is the owner of Code2Discover, a business dedicated to helping students discover their ability to create and shape the world around them through coding. He has been teaching technology, coding, and 21st century skills for nearly 15 years. He is a certified elementary teacher in PA and has a Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction. He is also a previous owner of an educational technology company that pioneered using Minecraft as an educational tool in the Pittsburgh region. His goal is to help kids learn the skills they need in today’s world, but also help them believe they can be the creators of new technology instead of simply consuming it.
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