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Learning Computer Programming is a Family Affair

It has become commonplace to refer to young people as “digital natives” because of their apparent fluency with technology, but are they really fluent? Most kids are comfortable texting, playing online games, and Googling things, but does that really make them fluent with new technologies?

Doesn’t digital fluency really require more than just the ability to interact with electronics like computers, phones, and tablets? Being able to consume digital media without being able to create it is kind of like being able to read without knowing how to write.

You’re really only half way there.

To get the rest of the way, you need to be “writing” (literally and figuratively). You need to be creating. You need to learn some type of programming.

Yesterday at the Innovation NWLA Showcase, we heard many local employers (not to mention Vince Voci from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce) talk about the need for technologists in the job market. Obviously we’re not expecting for a 8 or 9 year old to know what they want to be when they grow up based on a SCRATCH class, but we absolutely want them to be inspired to think about their future because of it.

That’s why the many excellent classes available in our community are working to introduce programming to younger kids, and why we have formed a partnership between Oremi Technologies and Solutions and CoHab to introduce the group “The Family That Codes Together…” and launch our first class, “Coding Together in SCRATCH.”

Every “The Family That Codes Together” class is a unique learning opportunity for not just children but also an adult learning partner (parents, siblings, grandparents, mentors, etc… over the age of 18) to learn the principles of coding together using The Massachusetts Institute for Technology Media Lab's platform, SCRATCH.

Ideal for ages 8 - 12, Scratch is a drag-and-drop programming platform that lets you create your own interactive stories, games, and animations — and share your creations with others in the online community.

It lets you learn the principles of coding (not to mention critical thinking, problem-solving, persistence, processing skills, and so many broadly-applicable skills) in a fun, creative, and easy to master environment.

If you've ever been interested in programming, if your child has ever shown interest in making their own animations or games, if you've ever felt intimidated because when your child has questions about what they're learning, you won't know how to help, THIS is the course for you and your child.

Our class will meet on Saturdays from 3:30 p.m. - 5 p.m. at Cohab in Shreveport's Red River District (right across from the new Shreveport Aquarium) for five sessions. We will meet every Saturday EXCEPT Saturday, Nov. 25th. Our last day of class, December 16th, we’ll have a full family show and tell, AND a holiday party!

Please note EVERY CHILD MUST HAVE A GUARDIAN (over the age of 18) PARTICIPATING IN THE CLASS WITH THEM (that’s the fun part of our class, making these animations and games together). Families with multiple children may register up to two children for every guardian (i.e. you can have one parent with two siblings participating). Sibling discounts are available.

Half and full scholarships are also available. If you are interested in a scholarship, please use the scholarship registration above and we will send you an application or you can visit our Facebook event to apply.

You may see your child learning to code as a path to a great career, or you might believe learning to code is the new literacy, or you might just see it as a way to help your kid get as much out of her mobile device as he’s putting in with his attention. At the end of the day, it may be and do all of those things, but we’ll promise you one thing for sure, it will be a LOT OF FUN and great quality time you can spend together.

We hope you’ll join us. To register visit Eventbrite here or to apply for a scholarship visit our application here!

Ebony Mitchel is the CEO of Oremi Technologies and Solutions, a startup company being guided by CoHab in the Shreveport-Bossier area. Ebony Mitchell has an Computer Science and Mathematics degree from Southern University in Shreveport and a passion for supporting STEM programs in the community.

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