Coding workshop helps Kingston youths develop computer science skills

Photo by John Schnobrich.

Canada Learning Code, Kingston Chapter, is a registered charity and part of the larger Canada Learning Code organization. The Kingston Chapter has been around for just over two years. They hosted their first workshop in September 2016 for National Learn to Code Day.

Since then, they have hosted over 20 events in our community helping over 300 learners gain the skills and confidence to harness the power of technology.

They ensure to offer a wide range of workshops, focusing on a variety of digital literacy concepts for Kingston adult and youth learners.

Jessica Bredschneider, Canada Learning Code, Kingston Chapter Lead said, historically, they have run a lot of Scratch based workshops for their Kids programming. At their last Kids workshop in 2018, they were so amazed at how easily the children were grasping the concepts of Scratch to program their computer games that they felt we should offer something a bit different in the future.

HTML and CSS is a nice progression as it is the fundamental underpinnings of most websites.

Paul Allison will be instructing the Webmaking with HTML & CSS workshop for those aged nine to 12 years old on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019. Allison believes that every student should have the opportunity to explore coding and the field of computer science. Coding is a creative pursuit that enables youth to shape their community and change the world by bringing to life innovative project ideas that have a positive social impact, he said.

Allison was inspired to teach this workshop so that he can introduce participants to the opportunities that exist in the field of computer science, and to share his love of computing with the next generation of leaders. He hopes that participants will come away from the workshop with a fundamental knowledge of how to design and build a website from scratch using the HTML and CSS languages. This foundation will provide learners with the computational skills that they need to continue learning how to code using other programming languages, such as Python.

Most importantly, Allison wants the participants to be inspired to move beyond being just consumers of technology to becoming creators of technology, and to be aware of the ways in which they can apply their computing skills to solve authentic, real-world problems.

There is a growing demand for computer science skills in the workforce. Computation touches all disciplines, ranging from biology and chemistry, to drama and the fine arts. Most jobs of the future will undoubtedly involve some degree of computer use, data analysis, and automation. An introduction to coding and creating with computers equips our youth with the problem-solving and critical thinking skills that they need to be successful in an ever changing, increasingly digitalized economy.

Whether or not students decide to pursue careers in engineering or computer science, the creative and computational thinking skills that students gain by learning how to code will serve them well in any future academic or career path.

Canada Learning Code’s theme for this month is accessibility. One of Canada Learning Code’s mandates is to ensure that workshops are accessible for all – especially the youth workshops. That is why tickets for kids’ workshops are ‘pay-what-you-can’ as opposed to a set fee.

Canada Learning Code, Kingston Chapter offers loaner laptops to make their workshops accessible to those who might not have a computer.

According to Bredschneider, 2019 is looking like a bright and an exciting year with brand new workshop content such as Intro to Virtual Reality using Three.JS in March and new opportunities for coding in the classrooms through their local Code Mobile.

For more information on the Canada Learning Code, Kingston Chapter, visit their webpage or check out their social media accounts @learningcodeygk.

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