Kids’ Country Coders
These days, games, apps, watching videos on a phone or computer, and accessing homework assignments online are all part of a child’s contemporary experience. So it comes as no surprise that kids enjoy learning how to code in order to create things like websites or music projects. Technology allows them to tap into their imagination and use their curiosity to explore their talents and interests.
There is a growing body of research that demonstrates that coding can be as foundational as reading. “What’s fascinating about computer science is that it requires analytical skills, problem solving and creativity, while also being both foundational and vocational,” Hadi Partovi, co-founder of Code.org, said in a recent Wall Street Journal article.
A couple of years ago, Kids’ Country began thinking about ways it could offer cutting edge STEAM curriculum (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) for children in our after school programs. Teaming up with curriculum specialist Brian Shields, CEO of UpTempo Group, a Danville-based technology company, Kids Country began offering a series of programming-related classes—all taught by Brian himself. In his class, the topics range from Webmasters to Graphic Design to 3D Printing, where children are learning the basics of coding to turn their creative visions into live products that capture their unique world views.
As Brian notes, “These classes really deliver the promise of STEAM curriculum vis a vis clear deliverables— a website about Pokemon, a graphic design of a flower garden, or a 3D Printed Cityscape.” Brian chooses workshops based off of real time needs in the tech world, shaping the minds of the kids using relative themes. The kids learn to communicate with text and images using code and graphic design tools, as well as utilizing technology to build logos, app designs, posters, etc. and even learn how to design their own projects using a Tinkercad 3D modeling software.
“I believe that we are providing students with an excellent foundation in technology. 3D printing is a fairly new technology in the education sector and CAD [Computer Aided Design] is an extremely valuable skill across many professions,” he says. “The long term value of these skills is really the empowerment that children gain from the classes. Building a website, designing a 3D creation, and creating an image with software are now options for them going forward in their educational careers. More importantly, they won’t be fearful of code or tech in the future. They know they can do it and it is actually fun!”
To see Kids’ Country’s Debra Bernstein’s full interview with Brian Shields click here.