In an effort to make computer coding “cool” and give students and adults a leg up in securing high-demand jobs in the region, several organizations are partnering to bring a “Week of Code” in Michigan City.
Michigan City Area Schools, in partnership with the Unity Foundation of LaPorte County and the Economic Development Corporation of Michigan City (EDCMC), will host the community-wide “Week of Code” May 6 – 12. Additional sponsors include Horizon Bank and the Michigan City Commission for Women.
At the most basic level, “code” is a set of written instructions a human gives a machine, telling it what to do. Computer coding makes it possible to create software, websites, apps, and games, but almost anything that runs on electricity uses code. Coding is a skill desired across multiple job sectors, with demand for coding competency projected to rise in the coming years.
“With technology making its way into all aspects of the world of work, coding is becoming an essential skill. The Week of Code is an effort to build excitement and awareness among our current and future workforce,” said Clarence Hulse, EDCMC Executive Director.
The “Week of Code” will engage MCAS students at all schools, from kindergarten through high school, in a variety of age-appropriate coding activities. In addition, community members can take part in a two-day coding boot camp to become familiar with coding basics. All activities will be led by classroom teachers and/or facilitators from the Eleven Fifty Academy, a Carmel, Indiana-based organization whose mission is to train and promote coding skills in communities across the state.
- Adults (ages 16 and up) can register for an Intro to Code boot camp on Saturday and Sunday, May 6 and 7, at Michigan City High School. The two-day, hands-on coding course is $20 and includes lunch for both days. (Register at http://educateMC.net/code.)
- Students in Kindergarten and first grade will take part in scavenger hunts, a history timeline creation, and mystery word finds. Students will also receive a copy of the book, ABC++.
- Students in Grades 2 – 6 will learn about “block” programming and PC usage, and will take part in an hour of code activity that addresses the basics of software development.
- Students in Grades 7 – 8 and Lake Hills 5th and 6th graders will learn programming on Raspberry Pi devices and will cover intermediate “scratch” programming, the basics of game development, and more.
- Fifty High School Students who have expressed interest in coding will take part in a “code cram” career session to learn about the job role of a software developer. They will also code using Raspberry Pi and Chromebook devices.
The Week of Code will conclude with a Community Coding Celebration on Friday, May 12 at 3:30pm at Lake Hills Elementary School, 201 Ferguson Road in Michigan City. The celebration will feature interactive activities, a school tour, and the unveiling of a “Coder Dojo” initiative for Michigan City. CoderDojo is a global movement of free, volunteer-led, community based coding clubs for students ages 7 to 17.
The “Week of Code” supplements coding units and activities already under way at MCAS schools such as Lake Hills STEM Elementary and Michigan City High School, and in after-school programs districtwide. “It’s important that students of all ages are exposed to ideas and technologies that will prepare them for college and future careers,” said MCAS Superintendent Dr. Barbara Eason-Watkins.
Volunteers are needed to assist at schools during the Week of Code. If you have experience with computers and wish to volunteer (no “coding” experience required!) please contact Katie Eaton at the EDCMC, firstname.lastname@example.org .
For more information, please visit http://educateMC.net/code or contact the EDCMC office at (219) 873-1211.