In Commentary, General

Where Kids Can Learn to Code in San Antonio

 

Programming can be fun for kids and helps develop essential skills they’ll be using their whole lives. According to a study on the cognitive effects of learning and computer programming, when kids learn how to program, they’re not just learning a programming language, they’re “gaining powerfully general higher cognitive skills such as planning abilities, problem-solving heuristics, and reflectiveness on the revisionary character of the problem solving process itself.” Through learning code, kids are learning to learn. Coding will be an important skill for the next generation, who will be more connected to the web than any of their predecessors. Here are a few great programs for kids and teens in San Antonio:

San Antonio Youth Code Jam is an annual, semi-unstructured event backed by the 80/20 Foundation, Rackspace Hosting, SAStemic and other sponsors that help keep this event free. Kids bring their own laptops and other tech gear to have a day of code exploration. A collaborative environment allows kids to meet other kids who like the same things they do while learning from each other. Webmaking and digital literacy are developed through fun drag-and-drop games or more involved personal projects. Until the next event, check out their list of digital resources.

Branching off of the regular Codeup programs, Codeup Teens gives high school students the chance to learn something often left out of traditional school curriculum. Every 4th Saturday of the month at Geekdom they can get an afternoon of instruction with the Codeup staff. Students usually work on web technologies like JavaScript or Scratch, but the team will always make accommodations based on the student’s skill set. TurnerLogic CodeKids runs a similar program for middle school students.

SAStemic is vital to San Antonio’s technology environment. They advocate to fill the wide spread need for STEM education in schools and communities. Initiatives like Geekbus provide a traveling makerspace filled with 3D printers, robotics, and other electrons for exploring. Schools get access to STEM experiences without having to buy equipment or leave the classroom. Other programs prepare students for national competitions like the National Youth Cyber Defense Competition and the Alamo First robotics competition. Hopefully with continued efforts from SAStemic, San Antonio will see strong STEM programs in every school.

The tech community continues to give opportunities specifically for women; Girls Inc. inspires little ladies to pick up a computer and start writing code. They just kicked off a program in San Antonio partnering with Made with Code to give San Antonio girls a safe place in an industry dominated by boys. In a collaborative space, girls make friends, code 3D printed bracelets, and program avatars to dance across their screens.

Teaching kids to code enables youth to learn the process of learning itself, which puts them at a huge advantage amongst their peers in continuing education. With programs for every gender, tech savvy level, and age group alike, there are so many opportunities for kids in San Antonio to start coding.