Seeking to help minimize “summer learning loss” and introduce young people to high-demand careers paths, Santa Monica College Community Education is launching a new program that will teach computer programming to middle school students.
The “Computer Coding for Kids Program” represents an innovative approach to computer science education, pairing a 3-part program in web design and mobile development with career exploration.
“We want to be pro-active in giving kids a jump start on developing valuable skills for this new economy and doing it in a way that is engaging and fun.” says Michelle King, SMC Director of Career & Contract Education. And although this summer’s offering of the computer coding program will target disadvantaged youth and other at-risk student groups, the long-term goal of the program will be to help promote, engage and celebrate student success in learning Science, Technology, Engineering & Math- (STEM-) related courses, King said.
Youngsters in this program will be taught the basics, starting with how to stimulate their creative thinking to generate concepts that can be developed into a computer code. Classroom instruction and discussions will be led by experts who are active in the local “Silicon Beach” tech community.
Young tech professionals will guide students through group projects that will teach the basic concepts of HTML and web development, while providing insight into applicable resources and possible careers paths.
The college’s participation in advancing the national trend to teach computer programming to students at an early age is part of its strategy to remain an educational leader. In a recent article, The New York Times reported that since December 2013 more than 20,000 teachers nationally have introduced coding lessons to students from kindergarten through 12th grade.
“In addition to providing students with valuable knowledge, the program is also aiming to convey the value and importance of continuous learning,” King said. “Technology and the fast pace of business is requiring both skilled and unskilled individuals to continuously seek out training opportunities that will equip them to compete in what is now an ever-changing job market. Thus, introducing younger students to the concept of continuous learning will in itself help prepare them to compete in the new economy.”
The coding program is part of a larger effort to reach further into the community to ensure that a diverse group of students has access to learning opportunities that can work to reduce the “Achievement Gap” while advancing the over-arching goal of encouraging the study of STEM-related courses. To help ensure the success of this ambitious and innovative program – which includes working collaboratively with other local educational non-profit organization – the Community Education Department is seeking the support of sponsors and other community leaders.
For more information on how to support SMC’s Community Education Department please contact King at (310) 434-3323, or email email@example.com.