Youth learn to code

By CKPG News
December 14, 2015 - 10:08am

PRINCE GEORGE — Texting, video games, and apps on your cell all have one thing in common. They wouldn’t be possible without computer coding. This weekend over 13.5 million kids around the world learned the basics of coding.

One participant was Grade 4 Hart Highland Elementary student Garnet Ditto. For Garnet, learning to code has always been on his list of things to do.

“My dad has always had computers. I’ve basically grown up with them, they’re my favourite thing in the world. I love computers. And I decided I want to learn more about computers and learn how to use them.”

Along with a gym full of boys and girls, Garnet learned the basis of computer coding.

Prince George is one of the four location’s that hosted a government sponsored hour of code event.

Garnet is new to the game and has a lot of big ideas.

“I want to create games. And other stuff. And stuff that would help people and also entertain them. In school it’s boring sometimes. So if there’s a program that’s fun and helps you learn, it’s easier.”

Saturday’s workshop was taught by Don Burks of Vancouver’s Lighthouse Labs. He says its essential kids learn the basics of coding.

“Code is the new literacy. By starting people young, getting them interested in building technology and speak in the way the computer understands we’re raising an entirely new generation of technologists.”

One topic on everyone’s radar is making sure young girls are encouraged to pursue computer sciences.

Grade 7 student Hannah Digiuseppe says she doesn’t know much about it, but is excited to learn.

“I haven’t done a lot of coding before, so I really wanted to learn because it’s being used more and more all the time.”

Burks adding there is an emphasis on making sure young women become involved in the coding movement.

“Some of the most amazing pieces of software that have ever been written were written by women and being able to influence a lot of young girls at an event like this is an amazing opportunity to build that next generation.”

Both Mayor Lyn Hall and MLA Shirley Bond gave coding a try and say they had their work cut out for them. The Mayor saying he learned a lot from his table mates.

“It’s pretty tough sitting at a table with seven year olds and they’re telling you what to do.”

But, as Garnet explains that the only way you’ll know if you like it, is if you just give it a try.

“It may be fun, it may not be fun. It’s up to you really and what you think of computers. My dad said this earlier. It’s about your brain structure, really. So if you want to learn about it go ahead. And to other people if you don’t want to learn about it don’t because that really means you have more of an artistic brain.”

Organizers say no matter if you use the left or right side of you brain, learning to code is useful for everyone.

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