Kids interested in how computer code can help with real-world problems and lead to high-paying jobs can now register for NIU STEAM Works “Code Saturday.”
This event, designed for students grades six and above, will take place Dec. 3, from 9 a.m. – noon, at Harter Middle School, 1601 Esker Drive in Sugar Grove. Registration is required and costs $20. Participation will be capped at 50 students. Students must bring their own computers, but no coding experience is needed.
“This day isn’t about diving into the technology deep end,” says Tracy Rogers-Tryba at NIU STEAM Works. “It’s about showing kids how many uses coding has and how it can be a vehicle for their interests or passions.”
The morning will begin with an overview of computer coding’s many effects on everyday life. After the introduction, students will be assigned to groups based on their experience levels. Novice students will learn some of the basics of video game design, a fun introduction to coding. More experienced coders will work together to solve technology challenges, giving them experience with the collaboration and critical thinking skills needed when using technology to solve real-world problems.
All participants will be shown online tools and resources they can access later to continue coding on their own.
According to code.org, the national organization behind the event, computing is the number one source of wages in the U.S., with over 500,000 computing jobs open nationwide right now. Despite this, only one in four high schools teaches computer science.
“Computer code is relevant to so many interests and professions,” says Rogers-Tryba. “Code is playing a role everywhere, from entertainment and the arts to healthcare and government. No matter what your passions are, coding skills are likely to have relevance.”
While the event is student-centered, parents are encouraged to attend and learn alongside their children. “No one is too young or too old to start learning how to code,” says Rogers-Tryba.