With their new found skill, kids can make their own games, their own animations, their own art, and do more than just click on someone else’s design.
This semester, freshman Samuel Ndungi spends first period at Rainier Beach High School learning how to write applications for a smartphone.
“I was surprised that you can do this on your own,” Ndungi said. “ I thought that it was only people from Microsoft and big companies who can do this.”
His teacher, Michael Braun, expects 700 students from the Seattle area to make that same discovery this Friday, at the second annual Puget Sound App Day at Rainier Beach High. Registration for the event ends Monday.
Kids who have never written a line of computer code will get a chance to program their own mobile apps, guided by professional techies during a party-like event that includes a disc jockey, raffle prizes and dance contests — one of many new opportunities for children in the Seattle area to get familiar with coding, both inside and outside of school.
Some who learn to code may get hooked and pursue technology careers — a compelling argument in the backyards of Microsoft and Amazon — but coding is more than just a job skill.
Children who learn it also may discover a powerful new way to think, create and express themselves in the defining medium of the 21st century, regardless of what career they pursue.
A tool for expression
Typical computer languages require programmers to write lines of codes with words, numbers and punctuation marks arranged in a precise and logical order, which can be daunting for newbies.
But in the past few years, beginner-friendly programming languages have emerged that bundle basic instructions into blocks of code that can then be snapped together like Legos into sequences that run games, stories, animations and other applications.
One of the first and most popular of those languages — known as Scratch — was developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to help children as young as 8 create stories, games and animations for free and share them online.