UVU Community Education Offers Summer Coding Camp | News @ UVU | News @ UVU
Amidst Community Education’s myriad of summer courses are some of its most popular offerings: computer coding. Pupils aged 10 to 14 have chosen to learn computer skills in the following courses:
- Python Multiplayer Adventures
- My online coding portfolio
- Roblox: World Building
- Gr8t game coding
These classes were held on UVU’s West Campus and almost always filled to capacity.
“Not only are kids hungry to learn to code, but it’s also part of their daily lives since we all live in a digital world,” said RJ Willing, director of community education at UVU. “Learning to code not only prepares students for career opportunities later in life, it also provides a host of soft skills and benefits kids need today: problem solving, perseverance, creativity, trust and communication.
UVU Information Systems students Toby Dieckman and Chase Smith spent the summer teaching classes with Seth Iorg, the co-founder of Saratoga Springs-based school Simply Coding. Iorg started their school to help students interested in coding learn the skills that will help them when they enter college.
“A few years ago, I spoke to the dean of UVU about computer science, and he said that half of our students who enter computer science majors as freshmen don’t have never coded before,” said Iorg. “He told me that we lose a lot of students because they really don’t know what coding is except that it pays well, looks fun and they like computers . But college was their first exposure. We want to give kids exposure to coding at a younger age, so they know what it’s all about and what they’re getting into when making those decisions later in life.
Their final course of the summer, “Roblox: World Building,” showed students how to create obstacle course games using Lua scripting and Roblox, an online game creation system.
“Kids pick up programming better than adults, like most things,” Dieckman said. “So it’s best to start early with the programming. Coding is a lot like learning a new language, and children also have an aptitude for learning languages. We adults are just a little set in our ways, but these students really want to learn, so they pick it up really fast.
New fifth grader Porter Smith completed the ice maze he created in just a week while talking about his dream job.
“I’m going to need it in the future,” he said. “My dream job is coding. Anything with coding.” He pointed to a character in the maze. “Don’t mind Bongo over there. He’s just here to kill you.”
Porter’s older brother and new high school freshman, Kyler, worked on a landscape terrain editor so his character – a flying piece of Cinnamon Toast Crunch in a top hat – could successfully navigate the maze which he created in five days.
“I want to learn this stuff now because I want to be ahead when I’m in college and not learning it for the very first time,” Kyler said. “I want to make games and other fun stuff when I get older. There are so many great creators and developers on YouTube, and I want to be able to code like them.”
“It’s all going into computer-related fields,” Smith said. “Every business you start, you need someone to work the back-end and the front-end, and it’s all about IT. If you can get kids interested in coding and doing fun things, like games or things that they can immediately see no matter what they decide to do.If they know how to code, it will come in handy for everything in their life.
Willing said Community Education is looking to partner with local businesses and individuals when assembling its summer school catalog. According to Iorg, Simply Coding’s partnership with UVU Community Education has been collaborative from the start.
“UVU has been a good fit from the start,” Iorg said. “I just said, ‘Hey, here are my classes. Can I teach them? and they said, ‘Yes, what can we do to help?’ It’s like we’re working together as a team rather than me as a business owner wondering how I can get things done.
“They push things at UVU, they want to serve the community, and they want to represent Utah County in the best way. That’s what I like.”
To learn more about UVU Community Education and Simply Coding, visit https://www.uvu.edu/communityed/ and https://simplycoding.org/