Coding for Kids Classes at NCC

Computer coding classes for kids? For some adults the thought of coding a computer or writing code to develop an app for a phone or computer program would be considered very difficult – like trying to learn a foreign language, but to kids it is just part of their everyday life. “Kids are really flexible in their learning and love technology,” stated Megan Dieken, Northwest Iowa Community College (NCC) Youth Programming Event Planner. “Kids grow up understanding technology, and they are naturally curious and want to know how it works. We wanted to encourage that curiosity and help them understand there may be a potential career behind the fancy technology.”

NCC hosted FREE computer coding classes for about 100 children in kindergarten through 8th grade, February – May 2019. The classes were age appropriate for the grade level of each student. Students used familiar characters from video games to learn critical thinking and problem solving skills while acquiring basic computer coding abilities. Dieken explained, “This after-school coding program for students used familiar characters like Angry Birds and Minecraft to explore how computers, video game systems and more work. Professionals who use coding in their everyday jobs presented about the importance of learning coding skills, so students can see the real world value in what they were learning.

A natural question is, “Why is NCC holding classes for kids?” Dieken explained, “One goal from the College’s strategic plan was to offer more classes to young people with a focus on career exploration, specifically for children in the elementary grades through high school. This goal also aligns with the State of Iowa’s program from the Future Ready Iowa Alliance called Future Ready Iowa, in which Iowa is to have 70 percent of its workforce with education or training beyond high school by the year 2025.” Dieken continued “We are the community’s college and we want to serve all of our community – including the kids. This was a perfect way to align the college’s goal of serving our community to fit that demographic.”

With that in mind, Dieken and others on campus began developing a plan for the spring of 2019. Dieken explained, “We chose coding because in our work with industry and what we have been reading and hearing is our world is shifting towards robotics and automation. We also heard from schools that they wanted more robotics classes, we saw a gap in learning where students were not being exposed to coding or programming on a large scale. So, that’s where we came in and offered this after school coding program. Hopefully, we are assisting the schools in filling a need and exposing students to a whole new subject they never knew they loved!”

Dr. Beth Frankenstein, Director – Student Development, Secondary Programs and Transitions, said, “We were excited with how many students signed up for Coding for Kids. We initially thought we would have about 40 students. When over 100 registered we had to quickly expand the program, so we could accommodate everyone. We didn’t want to turn anyone away from this opportunity.” Frankenstein continued, “We are proud to have served the youth of our area with this program. We are hopeful to find more opportunities to expand and grow our K-12 programming, especially in the high interest areas of STEM and Computer Science programs.”

The Spring 2020 classes will be held the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays February – May after school until 4pm. K-2nd Grade will meet the 1st Wednesday of each month and 3rd-4th Grade will meet the 3rd Wednesday of each month. Classes begin February 5. *Limited space Available. Transportation to NCC for East Elementary students will be provided by the Sheldon Community School District and a snack will be provided! A parent/guardian must pick up their student(s) by 4pm at NCC in Building A.

Registration deadline is Wednesday, January 29, 2020 in order to begin February 5. If your student wishes to attend after the deadline, simply email Megan Dieken at mdieken@nwicc.edu or call her at 712-324-5061, ext. 308 and your student may attend as soon as the information is received.
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