Local program teaches kids computer coding

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – We see kids playing on their phones every day but rarely do we see them building the games they’re playing.

However, there is now a program designed to teach kids those special skills.

“It’s always been my goal to become a computer scientist and make games.”

This is the first year 10-year-old Alexander is learning computer coding in his fifth grade class. Instead of playing sports games, he wants to make them.

“Ever since I started coding, I’ve been watching how they make them,” said Alexander.

Students like Alexander are learning to code through a special drag and drop program called Scratch.

It allows kids to use different codes to make their own apps or games.

“I’ve learned how to make an object do what I want, it’s not already done for me,” said Emma, an eighth grader.

Monday, March 14 was a special day for Jackson Metro students. They got to show off their skills to legislators at the Mississippi Children’s Museum.

The Mississippi Kids Code program is designed to bring awareness of computer science to kids.

Governor Phil Bryant supports the program and what it’s doing for local scholars.

“We often look at accomplishments from other students in sports … football, basketball, baseball but these students are accomplishing great things in technology. They’re competing with the world. We need to realize this is just as important as a winning football team at any high school, maybe more,” said Governor Phil Bryant of Mississippi.

By 2020, there will be a need for 1,000,000 jobs in coding and computer science.

“In the very near future, most things are going to run off of some form of code. We tend to understand then how the job opportunities, work force development issues, and critical thinking aspects with learning the code are so critical to our young people,” said Tim Mask, the co- creator of Mississippi Kids Code.

Legislators believe getting programs like this in our classrooms will help Mississippi  play a big part in the coding economy.

“It just expands my, expands my goals and dreams because it gives you hope for what you can do in the future, ” said Alexander.

This 10-year-old’s coding career may be years away but right now he’s enjoying the little things in life like celebrating national “Pi” day with his friends.

The Mississippi Children’s Museum will be adding a stem exhibit so kids at the museum can also learn about coding and computer science when they visit.

 

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