The after-school program mentors computer science students

theCoderSchool at Centennial teaches its students strategies for keeping up with the digital world.

CENTENNIAL, Colo. — An after-school computer coding program has worked hard to develop a helping hand for students learning the art of computer science.

theCoderSchool at Centennial coaches students in the application of computer science to create applications that run on computers. The school is part of a national system in 55 locations across the country and the Centennial location is the only one in Colorado.

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“It’s great to see these kids learning something new,” said owner Andrew Pedersen. “And learn something that is going to be so important not only in their educational career but also in their professional career later in life.”

Coding is how computer programmers communicate with computers. They use coding to instruct computers and other machines on what actions to perform. Coding is also used to program websites, apps, and other technologies that we interact with on a daily basis.

“When we look at automakers, look where Ford is going, look where Tesla has been,” Pedersen said. “All this computerization in cars, not just how they’re built, but also how they work, ie self-driving, artificial intelligence [and] things of this nature.

The school is for students aged six to 18 and teaches them introductory computer programming skills. They also help mentor older students who want to major in computer science in college. Pedersen said it’s important for young students to start learning code now to keep pace in the future.

“It is easier to learn to speak another language when you are young (and) coding is just another language,” he said. “Marketing, medicine, something like that, you’re going to understand how these computers work and the code that’s inside the computers.”

According to the school, students learn skills ranging from game development to cutting-edge technologies that help students with communication, creativity, writing, and math. The school has stated that its mission is to help students achieve their own computer programming goals through their coursework.

“I know some places will try to educate with a very strict curriculum and since there’s so much you can do with code, it doesn’t work for everyone,” said CoderSchool coach Erica DiGiulio. . “It teaches really important problem-solving skills, because that’s really what programming is.”

“I just don’t like having problems, so I like to get them over with,” added fourth-grade student Andrew Scott. “I just like the idea of ​​creating my own game.”

Pedersen said schools across the state are doing a good job of introducing coding, but they’re not going far enough.

“What goes into coding is a lot of math, so they’re going to be learning math while they’re coding,” he said. “Understanding the algorithms, the ratios, the things that go into the code, they’re going to pull it out in their courses.”

Currently, theCoderSchool is working with the Cherry Creek School District bringing in high school students from their innovation campus to work as interns. Pedersen hopes the interns will help students like Andrew stay ahead of the game even if they won’t necessarily end up getting working coding.

“I like it, but I don’t know if I will when I’m an adult because it’s a lot of years away,” Andrew said.

“Children today are going to be more integrated into the digital world than we have ever been,” Pedersen added. “Works that you don’t normally need to understand coding today, you will need to know how to code in the future.”

For more information on the CoderSchool Centennial, click here

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